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"To become memorable or brilliant, language needs to be fertilized by egotism." 

Adam Kirsch's long but worth reading collection of meditations/prose epigrams on the position of writers WRT past writers, future readers, and the present tense; on the respective roles of literature and science; and the role of culture in a technologically evolving civilization (among other insights). 

via poetryfoundation.org

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‎"Studies suggest that after physical death, mind and consciousness may continue in a transcendent level of reality that normally is not accessible to our senses and awareness..." This resembles a traditional Jewish belief that in the first week after burial the soul of the deceased is in a confused state and wanders back and forth between the burial plot and his or her most recent place of residence.

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It's all in the dopamine.  An interview with the neuroscientist in charge of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who also happens to be the great-granddaughter of Leon Trotsky.

via nytimes.com


 

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Dr. Baron-Cohen, a professor of developmental psychology at the University of Cambridge and director of the university's Autism Research Center, proposes that evil is more scientifically defined as an absence of empathy, exacerbated by negative environmental factors (usually parental, sometimes societal) and a genetic component. When these three exist in tandem they result in what he calls a Zero-Negative personality. Zero-Negative takes at least three forms (and possibly more), borrowing from terms used in psychiatry: Zero Type P (psychopathology), Zero Type B (borderline disorder) and Zero Type N (narcissism).

Whereas psychiatry groups these three loosely under the term personality disorders, Dr. Baron-Cohen proposes that they all share the characteristic of zero degrees of empathy. (His empathy quotient scale is available in the book or online, with an instant numerical score that is translated into degrees of empathy from zero to six, or super empathy.)

Check out this website I found at nytimes.com




     

     

     


 

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"...a combination of lower cognitive inhibition and higher IQ is associated with higher scores on a variety of creativity measures."


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Read the article on hsc.unt.edu

HDL (Good Cholesterol) is not only good for one's heart, it can also help kill cancer cells.

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Read the book review on washingtonpost.com

The author claims to have fact checked every citation. If true, kudos on her thoroughness as well as for debunking "Neurosexism."

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Read the book review on washingtonpost.com

The author claims to have fact checked every citation. If true, kudos on her thoroughness as well as for debunking "Neurosexism."

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Read the article on newsdaily.com

U.S. government researchers working to find ways to treat the highly deadly Ebola virus said on Sunday a new approach from AVI BioPharma Inc saved monkeys after they were infected.

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Read the article on newsdaily.com

U.S. government researchers working to find ways to treat the highly deadly Ebola virus said on Sunday a new approach from AVI BioPharma Inc saved monkeys after they were infected.

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Read the article on bbc.co.uk

A senior astronomer has said that the hunt for alien life should take into account alien "sentient machines". Seti, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, has until now sought radio signals from worlds like Earth. But Seti astronomer Seth Shostak argues that the time between aliens developing radio technology and artificial intelligence (AI) would be short. Writing in Acta Astronautica, he says that the odds favour detecting such alien AI rather than "biological" life...Dr Shostak says that artificially intelligent alien life would be likely to migrate to places where both matter and energy - the only things he says would be of interest to the machines - would be in plentiful supply. That means the Seti hunt may need to focus its attentions near hot, young stars or even near the centres of galaxies. "I think we could spend at least a few percent of our time... looking in the directions that are maybe not the most attractive in terms of biological intelligence but maybe where sentient machines are hanging out."

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Read the article on bbc.co.uk

A senior astronomer has said that the hunt for alien life should take into account alien "sentient machines". Seti, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, has until now sought radio signals from worlds like Earth. But Seti astronomer Seth Shostak argues that the time between aliens developing radio technology and artificial intelligence (AI) would be short. Writing in Acta Astronautica, he says that the odds favour detecting such alien AI rather than "biological" life...Dr Shostak says that artificially intelligent alien life would be likely to migrate to places where both matter and energy - the only things he says would be of interest to the machines - would be in plentiful supply. That means the Seti hunt may need to focus its attentions near hot, young stars or even near the centres of galaxies. "I think we could spend at least a few percent of our time... looking in the directions that are maybe not the most attractive in terms of biological intelligence but maybe where sentient machines are hanging out."

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Conservative blogger Andrew Schlafly says Albert Einstein's scientific theories are bad science and part of a "liberal conspiracy." (JTA graphic/Library of Congress)

Conservative blogger Andrew Schlafly, emulating Nazi attempts to discredit Einstein and his theory of relativity, says Albert Einstein's scientific theories are bad science and part of a "liberal conspiracy."

Read the article on jta.org

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Conservative blogger Andrew Schlafly says Albert Einstein's scientific theories are bad science and part of a "liberal conspiracy." (JTA graphic/Library of Congress)

Conservative blogger Andrew Schlafly, emulating Nazi attempts to discredit Einstein and his theory of relativity, says Albert Einstein's scientific theories are bad science and part of a "liberal conspiracy."

Read the article on jta.org

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Since the 1990s American creativity scores have been declining even as IQ scores continue to rise. Neuroscience shows that creativity can be taught. When will we stop teaching to the test and teach creative problem solving skills instead? Read more... )
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Since the 1990s American creativity scores have been declining even as IQ scores continue to rise. Neuroscience shows that creativity can be taught. When will we stop teaching to the test and teach creative problem solving skills instead? Read more... )
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The same plaques that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease also accumulate in the retinas of their eyes, new research suggests.

And this retinal plaque shows up earlier than the cell-damaging stuff in the brain, meaning images of the eyes could lead to earlier diagnosis of the disease, the researchers say.

Abnormal brain deposits of so-called beta-amyloid plaques, which damage cells and interrupt cell-to-cell communications, are considered a hallmark of Alzheimer's. However, because noninvasive brain-imaging technologies can't yet show such changes, the most definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease comes only after an autopsy.

Accumulating research suggests Alzheimer's disease damages the brain well before the outward mental impairment shows up. So if doctors could catch Alzheimer's in this pre-symptomatic stage, they could start early treatments to help at least slow the mental slide.

In the new study, scientists discovered characteristic amyloid plaques in retinas from deceased Alzheimer's disease patients. The plaques were found not only in patients who definitely had the disease, but also in the retinas of some people who were suspected of having early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

Then, the researchers genetically modified a set of mice to develop Alzheimer's. To look for plaques, the team injected a fluorescent compound called curcumin, a natural component of the spice turmeric, into the mice's bloodstream. The compound crossed the blood-retinal barrier and bound to the retinal plaques, making them visible when viewed under a microscope.

Images revealed the retinal plaques in the mice developed at a pre-symptomatic stage, before the plaque appeared in the brain.

The researchers also found a correlation between retinal and brain plaques as the disease progressed in the mouse models. When subjected to an immune system-based therapy that reduces brain plaques, the mice showed reduced amounts of plaque in the retinas to the same extent. That suggests the retina could be a reliable indicator for assessing the brain's response to therapy.

Together, these findings establish the potential of direct retinal beta-amyloid plaque imaging in live subjects as a tool for early on Alzheimer's Disease.

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The same plaques that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease also accumulate in the retinas of their eyes, new research suggests.

And this retinal plaque shows up earlier than the cell-damaging stuff in the brain, meaning images of the eyes could lead to earlier diagnosis of the disease, the researchers say.

Abnormal brain deposits of so-called beta-amyloid plaques, which damage cells and interrupt cell-to-cell communications, are considered a hallmark of Alzheimer's. However, because noninvasive brain-imaging technologies can't yet show such changes, the most definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease comes only after an autopsy.

Accumulating research suggests Alzheimer's disease damages the brain well before the outward mental impairment shows up. So if doctors could catch Alzheimer's in this pre-symptomatic stage, they could start early treatments to help at least slow the mental slide.

In the new study, scientists discovered characteristic amyloid plaques in retinas from deceased Alzheimer's disease patients. The plaques were found not only in patients who definitely had the disease, but also in the retinas of some people who were suspected of having early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

Then, the researchers genetically modified a set of mice to develop Alzheimer's. To look for plaques, the team injected a fluorescent compound called curcumin, a natural component of the spice turmeric, into the mice's bloodstream. The compound crossed the blood-retinal barrier and bound to the retinal plaques, making them visible when viewed under a microscope.

Images revealed the retinal plaques in the mice developed at a pre-symptomatic stage, before the plaque appeared in the brain.

The researchers also found a correlation between retinal and brain plaques as the disease progressed in the mouse models. When subjected to an immune system-based therapy that reduces brain plaques, the mice showed reduced amounts of plaque in the retinas to the same extent. That suggests the retina could be a reliable indicator for assessing the brain's response to therapy.

Together, these findings establish the potential of direct retinal beta-amyloid plaque imaging in live subjects as a tool for early on Alzheimer's Disease.

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Female orgasms and a 'rule of thumb'

'C-V distance' may be a factor in how easily a woman has an orgasm.

  • By Regina Nuzzo Special to The Times

    February 11, 2008


    During intercourse, the female orgasm can be elusive. What frustrated woman hasn't wondered: Am I simply, um, put together differently than other women?

    Kim Wallen, professor of psychology and behavioral neuroendocrinology at Emory University, is busy doing the math to find out. And, yes, he says, simple physiology may have a lot to do with orgasm ease -- specifically, how far a woman's clitoris lies from her vagina.

    That number might predict how easily a woman can experience orgasms from penile stimulation alone -- without help from fingers, toys or tongue -- during sexual intercourse.


    In fact, there's even an easy "rule of thumb," Wallen says: Clitoris-vagina distances less than 2.5 cm -- that's roughly from the tip of your thumb to your first knuckle -- tend to yield reliable orgasms during sex. More than a thumb's length? Regular intercourse alone typically might not do the trick.

    Wallen is not the first to check into this "C-V distance." In the 1920s, Princess Marie Bonaparte, a French psychoanalyst and close friend of Sigmund Freud, grew fed up with her own lack of orgasmic response. In her professional practice, she saw plenty of patients with the same complaint ("frigidity," in the parlance of the day).

    She blamed physiology, not psyche.

    Bonaparte collected C-V and orgasm data from her patients and in 1924 delicately published her observations under a pseudonym. (She also persuaded an Austrian surgeon to experiment on her, by cutting around her clitoris and stretching it closer to her vagina -- with disappointing results.)

    Recently, Wallen dug up Bonaparte's measurements and analyzed them with modern statistical techniques. Sure enough, he found a striking correlation. Now he is hoping to do his own measurement study.

    Preliminary work has revealed that only about 7% of women always have orgasms with sex alone, he says, while 27% say they never do. The current research hold-up: developing a reliable, at-home technique for measuring C-V distance, especially one that can deal with stretchy skin.

    Women with a large C-V distance should not be discouraged, Wallen says. "Personally, I don't think the inability to experience no-hands, penis-only intercourse with orgasm says anything about a happy sex life," he says. "Maybe it could allow couples to be a bit more inventive in how they have sex."

    He acknowledges that the measure might become one more standard women feel they need to live up to, like breast size. "People would ask, 'Is your distance really small?' "

    Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

    This finding confirms what I observed three decades ago in my 20s with a smaller research sample.

    Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

    davidfcooper: (Default)

    Female orgasms and a 'rule of thumb'

    'C-V distance' may be a factor in how easily a woman has an orgasm.

  • By Regina Nuzzo Special to The Times

    February 11, 2008


    During intercourse, the female orgasm can be elusive. What frustrated woman hasn't wondered: Am I simply, um, put together differently than other women?

    Kim Wallen, professor of psychology and behavioral neuroendocrinology at Emory University, is busy doing the math to find out. And, yes, he says, simple physiology may have a lot to do with orgasm ease -- specifically, how far a woman's clitoris lies from her vagina.

    That number might predict how easily a woman can experience orgasms from penile stimulation alone -- without help from fingers, toys or tongue -- during sexual intercourse.


    In fact, there's even an easy "rule of thumb," Wallen says: Clitoris-vagina distances less than 2.5 cm -- that's roughly from the tip of your thumb to your first knuckle -- tend to yield reliable orgasms during sex. More than a thumb's length? Regular intercourse alone typically might not do the trick.

    Wallen is not the first to check into this "C-V distance." In the 1920s, Princess Marie Bonaparte, a French psychoanalyst and close friend of Sigmund Freud, grew fed up with her own lack of orgasmic response. In her professional practice, she saw plenty of patients with the same complaint ("frigidity," in the parlance of the day).

    She blamed physiology, not psyche.

    Bonaparte collected C-V and orgasm data from her patients and in 1924 delicately published her observations under a pseudonym. (She also persuaded an Austrian surgeon to experiment on her, by cutting around her clitoris and stretching it closer to her vagina -- with disappointing results.)

    Recently, Wallen dug up Bonaparte's measurements and analyzed them with modern statistical techniques. Sure enough, he found a striking correlation. Now he is hoping to do his own measurement study.

    Preliminary work has revealed that only about 7% of women always have orgasms with sex alone, he says, while 27% say they never do. The current research hold-up: developing a reliable, at-home technique for measuring C-V distance, especially one that can deal with stretchy skin.

    Women with a large C-V distance should not be discouraged, Wallen says. "Personally, I don't think the inability to experience no-hands, penis-only intercourse with orgasm says anything about a happy sex life," he says. "Maybe it could allow couples to be a bit more inventive in how they have sex."

    He acknowledges that the measure might become one more standard women feel they need to live up to, like breast size. "People would ask, 'Is your distance really small?' "

    Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

    This finding confirms what I observed three decades ago in my 20s with a smaller research sample.

    Posted via web from davidfcooper's posterous

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