henry copeland @hc

Creating https://t.co/yaIkIOcF20, an online toolkit the average person can use for personal (n-of-1) experiments. Way back when: Y84, bond trader, journalist.

Recent quotes:

Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid - The Atlantic

The text does not say that God destroyed the tower, but in many popular renderings of the story he does, so let’s hold that dramatic image in our minds: people wandering amid the ruins, unable to communicate, condemned to mutual incomprehension. […]The story of Babel is the best metaphor I have found for what happened to America in the 2010s, and for the fractured country we now inhabit. Something went terribly wrong, very suddenly. We are disoriented, unable to speak the same language or recognize the same truth. We are cut off from one another and from the past.

Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid - The Atlantic

Social media has both magnified and weaponized the frivolous.

Anesthetic drastically diverts the travels of brain waves -- ScienceDaily

Imagine the conscious brain as a sea roiling with the collisions and dispersals of waves of different sizes and shapes, swirling around and flowing across in many different directions. Now imagine that an ocean liner lumbers through, flattening everything that trails behind with its powerful, parting wake. A new study finds that unconsciousness induced by the commonly used drug propofol has something like that metaphorical effect on higher frequency brain waves, appearing to sweep them aside and, as an apparent consequence, sweeping consciousness away as well.

'Keto' molecule may be useful in preventing and treating colorectal cancer, study suggests -- ScienceDaily

In the study, published in Nature, researchers initially found that mice on low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diets have a striking resistance to colorectal tumor development and growth. The scientists then traced this effect to beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), a small organic molecule produced in the liver in response to keto diets or starvation

How America Watches for a Nuclear Strike - The New York Times

The orbital fleet has yet to spot anything worthy of concern, image analysts said. Echoing the private assessments, U.S. and NATO officials have reported no signs that Russia is preparing for nuclear war. “We haven’t seen anything that’s made us adjust our posture, our nuclear posture,” Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser to President Biden, told reporters on March 23. But America’s atomic watchdogs have reason to continue looking, experts said. Moscow has long practiced using relatively small nuclear blasts to offset battlefield losses. And some military experts are concerned over what Mr. Putin might do, after setbacks in Ukraine, to restore his reputation for edgy ruthlessness.

Damaged nerve behind athletes' post-concussion issues -- ScienceDaily

"The test results show that the injury is located to the vestibular nerve, which is connected to the semicircular canals in a cavity inside the skull, and which is directly adjacent to the cochlea in the ear. These injuries lead to the inward nerve impulses not working properly, and the brain therefore does not receive important information about body movements and sensory impressions required to maintain a good balance," says Anna Gard, doctoral student at Lund University, resident in neurosurgery at Skåne University Hospital and first author of the study.

Good news for coffee lovers: Daily coffee may benefit the heart: Drinking two to three cups a day was associated with greatest heart benefits -- ScienceDaily

For the first study, researchers examined data from 382,535 individuals without known heart disease to see whether coffee drinking played a role in the development of heart disease or stroke during the 10 years of follow up. Participants' average age was 57 years and half were women. In general, having two to three cups of coffee a day was associated with the greatest benefit, translating to a 10%-15% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure, a heart rhythm problem, or dying for any reason. The risk of stroke or heart-related death was lowest among people who drank one cup of coffee a day. Researchers did observe a U-shaped relationship with coffee intake and new heart rhythm problems. The maximum benefit was seen among people drinking two to three cups of coffee a day with less benefit seen among those drinking more or less.

Layover or nonstop? Unique pattern of connectivity lets highly creative people's brains take road less traveled to their destination -- ScienceDaily

"Our results showed that highly creative people had unique brain connectivity that tended to stay off the beaten path," said Ariana Anderson, a professor and statistician at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, the lead author of a new article in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. While non-creatives tended to follow the same routes across the brain, the highly creative people made their own roads.

Ukraine-Russia War Live Updates: Biden to Meet with NATO, G7 and E.U. in Brussels - The New York Times

Ukraine’s military said on Thursday that it had destroyed a Russian ship at a port under Russian occupation in southern Ukraine, in what would be a success for the Ukrainians as they seek to keep Russia from reinforcing and resupplying its forces as its forces struggle to gain momentum.

Antabuse may help revive vision in people with progressive blinding disorders: Test of drug could prove role of hyperactive retinal cells in blindness, potentially leading to better therapies -- ScienceDaily

A group of scientists led by Richard Kramer, UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology, had previously shown that a chemical -- retinoic acid -- is produced when light-sensing cells in the retina, called rods and cones, gradually die off. This chemical causes hyperactivity in retinal ganglion cells, which ordinarily send visual information to the brain. The hyperactivity interferes with their encoding and transfer of information, obscuring vision. He realized, however, that the drug disulfiram -- also called Antabuse -- inhibits not only enzymes involved in the body's ability to degrade alcohol, but also enzymes that make retinoic acid. In new experiments, Kramer and collaborator Michael Goard, who directs a lab at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), discovered that treatment with disulfiram decreased the production of retinoic acid and made nearly-blind mice much better at detecting images displayed on a computer screen.

What's the prevailing opinion on social media? Look at the flocks, says researcher -- ScienceDaily

Murmuration identifies meaningful groups of social media actors based on the "who-follows-whom" relationship. The actors attract like-minded followers to form "flocks," which serve as the units of analysis. As opinions form and shift in response to external events, the flocks' unfolding opinions move like the fluid murmuration of airborne starlings. The framework and the findings from an analysis of social network structure and opinion expression from over 193,000 Twitter accounts, which followed more than 1.3 million other accounts, suggest that flock membership can predict opinion and that the murmuration framework reveals distinct patterns of opinion intensity. The researchers studied Twitter because of the ability to see who is following whom, information that is not publicly accessible on other platforms. The results, published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, further support the echo chamber tendencies prevalent on social media, while adding important nuance to existing knowledge. "By identifying different flocks and examining the intensity, temporal pattern and content of their expression, we can gain deeper insights far beyond where liberals and conservatives stand on a certain issue," says Zhang, an expert in social media and political communication. "These flocks are segments of the population, defined not by demographic variables of questionable salience, like white women aged 18-29, but by their online connections and response to events.

People with diabetes who eat less processed food at night may live longer: Study finds eating carbs earlier in the day is linked to better heart health -- ScienceDaily

The researchers analyzed data from 4,642 people with diabetes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to determine their risk of dying from heart disease. They found people with diabetes who ate potatoes or starchy vegetables in the morning, whole grains in the afternoon, and dark vegetables such as greens and broccoli and milk in the evening were less likely to die from heart disease. Those who ate a lot of processed meat in the evening were more likely to die from heart disease.

Close the blinds during sleep to protect your health: Even moderate light exposure during sleep harms heart health and increases insulin resistance -- ScienceDaily

"We showed your heart rate increases when you sleep in a moderately lit room," said Dr. Daniela Grimaldi, a co-first author and research assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern. "Even though you are asleep, your autonomic nervous system is activated. That's bad. Usually, your heart rate together with other cardiovascular parameters are lower at night and higher during the day." There are sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to regulate our physiology during the day and night. Sympathetic takes charge during the day and parasympathetic is supposed to at night, when it conveys restoration to the entire body. How nighttime light during sleep can lead to diabetes and obesity Investigators found insulin resistance occurred the morning after people slept in a light room. Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat and liver don't respond well to insulin and can't use glucose from your blood for energy. To make up for it, your pancreas makes more insulin. Over time, your blood sugar goes up.

Anyone can be trained to be creative: New program shows early success with U.S. Army, others -- ScienceDaily

The narrative method of training for creativity uses many of the techniques that writers use to create stories. One is to develop new worlds in your mind. For example, employees at a company might be asked to think about their most unusual customer -- then imagine a world in which all their customers were like that. How would that change their business? What would they have to do to survive? Another technique is perspective-shifting. An executive at a company might be asked to answer a problem by thinking like another member of their team. The point of using these techniques and others like them is not that the scenarios you dream up will actually happen, Fletcher said. "Creativity isn't about guessing the future correctly. It's about making yourself open to imagining radically different possibilities," he said. "When you do that, you can respond more quickly and nimbly to the changes that do occur."

Resistance exercise may be superior to aerobic exercise for getting better ZZZs -- ScienceDaily

Among the 42% of participants who were not getting at least 7 hours of sleep at the study's start, sleep duration increased by an average of 40 minutes in 12 months for the resistance exercise group, compared to an increase of about 23 minutes in the aerobic exercise group, about 17 minutes in the combined exercise group and about 15 minutes in the control group. Sleep efficiency increased in the resistance exercise and combined exercise groups, but not in the aerobic exercise or no exercise group. Sleep latency decreased slightly, by 3 minutes, in the group assigned to resistance exercise only, with no notable change in latency in the other participant groups.

More alcohol, less brain: Association begins with an average of just one drink a day -- ScienceDaily

But according to a new study, alcohol consumption even at levels most would consider modest -- a few beers or glasses of wine a week -- may also carry risks to the brain. An analysis of data from more than 36,000 adults, led by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, found that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption was associated with reductions in overall brain volume. The link grew stronger the greater the level of alcohol consumption, the researchers showed. As an example, in 50-year-olds, as average drinking among individuals increases from one alcohol unit (about half a beer) a day to two units (a pint of beer or a glass of wine) there are associated changes in the brain equivalent to aging two years. Going from two to three alcohol units at the same age was like aging three and a half years. The team reported their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Microneedle approach to address peanut allergy shows promise in mice: The novel immunotherapy had increased rates of desensitization to peanut -- ScienceDaily

"While our pre-clinical results are from studies in animal models, they demonstrate the potential for peanut microneedles to improve food allergen immunotherapy through the skin," said Jessica O'Konek, Ph.D., senior author of the paper and research assistant professor at the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center at Michigan Medicine. "Treatment options for food allergy are limited, so there is a lot of motivation for the development of novel therapeutics. It will be exciting to watch the clinical development of this technology," she said.

Study questions the role of vitamin D2 in human health but its sibling, vitamin D3, could be important for fighting infections -- ScienceDaily

"We have shown that vitamin D3 appears to stimulate the type I interferon signalling system in the body -- a key part of the immune system that provides a first line of defence against bacteria and viruses. Thus, a healthy vitamin D3 status may help prevent viruses and bacteria from gaining a foothold in the body. "Our study suggests that it is important that people take a vitamin D3 supplement, or suitably fortified foods, especially in the winter months." Although some foods are fortified with vitamin D, like some breakfast cereals, yoghurts, and bread, few naturally contain the vitamin. Vitamin D3 is produced naturally in the skin from exposure to sunlight or artificial ultraviolet UVB light, while some plants and fungi produce vitamin D2. Many people have insufficient levels of vitamin D3 because they live in locations where sunlight is limited in the winter, like the UK. The Covid-19 pandemic has also limited people's natural exposure to the sun due to people spending more time in their homes.

How to calm a stressed kid? A one-minute video can help, according to Stanford researchers | Stanford Graduate School of Education

Researchers measured two biomarkers in all of their recruits: heart rate and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), which refers to the changing pace of the heartbeat when a person inhales and exhales.  RSA plays an important role in influencing heart rate, Obradović said, and it has been linked to children’s ability to regulate their emotions, focus their attention and engage in tasks. “When it comes to measuring the effects of deep breathing on stress physiology, RSA seems to be the most appropriate biomarker,” said Obradović. “RSA is the only pure measure of the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, the system we’ve evolved to help us deal with everyday challenges – the kinds of challenges that don’t require a flight-or-flight response.”  The change in the measures was profound: RSA increased and heart rate decreased only in response to the deep-breathing video, and the effects were greater during the second half of the video, which included most of the deep breathing practice. The children in the control group showed no change in either measure. “Our findings showed that guiding a group of children through one minute of a slow-paced breathing exercise in an everyday setting can, in the moment, significantly lower the average level of physiological arousal,” Obradović said.

An apology to our readers - The Cosmopolitan Globalist

The miserable, needless human tragedy engulfing Ukraine matters in its own right. It should matter to any sentient human even if American national security interests weren’t at play. But American national security interests—the security of the whole “rules based international order”—are very much at play, and Putin proposes to destroy that order, which will, ultimately, destroy everything.

Rockshelter Discoveries Show Neandertals Were a Lot like Us - Scientific American

In recent years, though, paleoanthropologists have recovered evidence of Neandertals behaving in ways no one would have predicted just a couple of decades ago. Bruce Hardy and his colleagues have found bits of ancient twisted thread at the site of Abris du Maras in France that show Neandertals had fiber technology. Marie Soressi and her collaborators discovered specialized bone tools called lissoirs, which are used for leatherworking, at Pech-de-l’Azé rockshelter in France. João Zilhão and his team have shown that Neandertals were eating mussels, crabs, sharks and seals, among other marine resources, at Figueira Brava in Portugal and other coastal sites. Elsewhere in Europe researchers have found indications that Neandertals exploited a wide variety of plant foods and even mushrooms.

AI-synthesized faces are indistinguishable from real faces and more trustworthy | PNAS

Artificial intelligence (AI)–synthesized text, audio, image, and video are being weaponized for the purposes of nonconsensual intimate imagery, financial fraud, and disinformation campaigns. Our evaluation of the photorealism of AI-synthesized faces indicates that synthesis engines have passed through the uncanny valley and are capable of creating faces that are indistinguishable—and more trustworthy—than real faces.

Apparent sunk cost effect in rational agents

In a recent study of economic decisions, humans, mice, and rats were reported to succumb to the sunk cost fallacy, making decisions based on irrecoverable past investments to the detriment of expected future returns. We challenge this interpretation because it is subject to a statistical fallacy, a form of attrition bias, and the observed behavior can be explained without invoking a sunk cost–dependent mechanism. Using a computational model, we illustrate how a rational decision maker with a reward-maximizing decision strategy reproduces the reported behavioral pattern and propose an improved task design to dissociate sunk costs from fluctuations in decision valuation. Similar statistical confounds may be common in analyses of cognitive behaviors, highlighting the need to use causal statistical inference and generative models for interpretation.

Modern human incursion into Neanderthal territories 54,000 years ago at Mandrin, France

Apart from a possible sporadic pulse recorded in Greece during the Middle Pleistocene, the first settlements of modern humans in Europe have been constrained to ~45,000 to 43,000 years ago. Here, we report hominin fossils from Grotte Mandrin in France that reveal the earliest known presence of modern humans in Europe between 56,800 and 51,700 years ago.

Conceptual knowledge increases infants' memory capacity | PNAS

For example, adults are better at remembering the letter string PBSBBCCNN after parsing it into three smaller units: the television acronyms PBS, BBC, and CNN. Is this chunking a learned strategy acquired through instruction? We explored the origins of this ability by asking whether untrained infants can use conceptual knowledge to increase memory. In the absence of any grouping cues, 14-month-old infants can track only three hidden objects at once, demonstrating the standard limit of working memory. In four experiments we show that infants can surpass this limit when given perceptual, conceptual, linguistic, or spatial cues to parse larger arrays into smaller units that are more efficiently stored in memory. This work offers evidence of memory expansion based on conceptual knowledge in untrained, preverbal subjects.

Exercise post-vaccine bumps up antibodies, new study finds -- ScienceDaily

In the newly published study, participants who cycled on a stationary bike or took a brisk walk for an hour-and-a-half after getting a jab produced more antibodies in the following four weeks compared to participants who sat or continued with their daily routine post-immunization. The researchers found similar results when they ran an experiment with mice and treadmills. Antibodies are essentially the body's "search and destroy" line of defense against viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Vaccines help the immune system learn how to identify something foreign and respond by bolstering the body's defenses, including an increase in antibodies.