henry copeland @hc

Convener, runner, puzzler. Instigator of Racery, Pullquote, Twiangulate, Blogads. Via Wooster, New Haven, 85th and Columbus, Budapest, Paris. y84.

Recent quotes:

Scheduling leisure activities makes them less fun: Study finds planning events make them seem like work -- ScienceDaily

While people seem to get less enjoyment out of precisely scheduled activities, they don't seem to mind if they are more roughly scheduled.

The Best Activities To List On A Resume Are Classist -- Science of Us

What was bananas, however, is how that rate skewed by gender: the lower-class male got just one callback, the lower-class female five, the higher-class woman three, and the higher-class man thirteen. That means the blue-blooded James had a 16.25 callback rate, while his nearly identical siblings had a paltry 3.83 callback percentage.

Exercising to avoid the flu? It’s all about the sweet spot - The Globe and Mail

a 2011 study of 1,002 adults by Dr. David Nieman at Appalachian State University found that those who exercised five or more days a week were 43 per cent less likely to develop upper respiratory tract infections during the fall and winter than those who exercised once a week or less.

breath in through your nose

"One of the major findings in this study is that there is a dramatic difference in brain activity in the amygdala and hippocampus during inhalation compared with exhalation," said lead author Christina Zelano, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "When you breathe in, we discovered you are stimulating neurons in the olfactory cortex, amygdala and hippocampus, all across the limbic system."

Half of people believe fake facts, 'remember' events that never happened -- ScienceDaily

Over 400 participants in 'memory implantation' studies had fictitious autobiographical events suggested to them -- and it was found that around 50% of the participants believed, to some degree, that they had experienced those events. Participants in these studies came to remember a range of false events, such as taking a childhood hot air balloon ride, playing a prank on a teacher, or creating havoc at a family wedding. 30% of participants appeared to 'remember' the event -- they accepted the suggested event, elaborated on how the event occurred, and even described images of what the event was like. Another 23% showed signs that they accepted the suggested event to some degree and believed it really happened.

Substance present in ayahuasca brew stimulates generation of human neural cells: Harmine increases the number of neural progenitors, cells that give rise to neurons, study suggests -- ScienceDaily

In order to elucidate these effects, researchers from the D'Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) and the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (ICB-UFRJ) exposed human neural progenitors to this beta-carboline. After four days, harmine led to a 70% increase in proliferation of human neural progenitor cells. Researchers were also able to identify how the human neural cells respond to harmine. The described effect involves the inhibition of DYRK1A, which is located on chromosome 21 and is over activated in patients with Down syndrome and Alzheimer's Disease. "Our results demonstrate that harmine is able to generate new human neural cells, similarly to the effects of classical antidepressant drugs, which frequently are followed by diverse side effects. Moreover, the observation that harmine inhibits DYRK1A in neural cells allows us to speculate about future studies to test its potential therapeutic role over cognitive deficits observed in Down syndrome and neurodegenerative diseases," suggests Stevens Rehen, researcher from IDOR and ICB-UFRJ.

Wall Street’s Old, Unwanted Bond Salesmen Find a Home in Chicago - Bloomberg

In the new Wall Street, there are simply fewer jobs. Post-crisis rules to curb risk-taking and shrinking bond-trading revenues have compelled banks to cut costs. Electronic trading platforms have let clients bypass salespeople. In the past five years alone, the biggest global firms have cut almost 10,000 trading and investment banking jobs, according to research firm Coalition Ltd. Older, higher-paid traders and salespeople have been especially vulnerable.

Holiday Challenge Participant - Motivated to Walk! - Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less

I now use every opportunity to walk more and increase my steps, sometimes thinking outside the box. For example, at the airport. Yesterday, my flight landed at ATL and I had 1 hr 10 mins to catch my next flight. I landed at Concourse A and instead of taking the train to Concourse B for my flight – I decided to get a fast paced walk in. I walked from my gate on Concourse A to Concourse E and then back to Concourse B for my next flight. I did not use walking escalator nor the train and I walked 1.28 miles. I still had some time at our gate and so decided to walk the B Concourse from gate to end and back to gate and added another ½ mile. So instead of sitting around wasting time with iPhone or eating Bon Bons, I walked almost 2 miles and feel great, a little sweaty but great!

Disruption of the body's internal clock causes disruption of metabolic processes: Researchers study carbon monoxide metabolism -- ScienceDaily

the body's carbon monoxide metabolism is closely linked to the body's circadian (internal) clock. Carbon monoxide, a toxic gas found in exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke, is also an endogenous by-product of the degradation of heme, the hemoglobin cofactor responsible for giving red blood cells their color. The production of carbon monoxide is regulated by the body's internal clock, and this clock, in turn, is regulated by carbon monoxide

Tina Fey on momdom

‘How do you balance work and family?’ And I say, ‘on your mom’s back, that’s how.’

Crossing State Lines Is No Easy Jaunt for Insurers and Local Regulators - WSJ

Insurance executives question how much interstate sales would unleash competition. Premiums are closely tied to underlying costs, such as rates paid to local doctors and hospitals and projected health needs of enrollees. The regulatory environment notwithstanding, selling coverage in any given state would require an insurer to have a local network of allied doctors and hospitals, something new entrants to a market might find costly to arrange. “In order to offer more value, you will need to have relationships and contracts with the providers in a state,” said Paul Markovich, chief executive of Blue Shield of California. Insurers almost certainly wouldn’t sell coverage at the same price in multiple states, said Jim O’Connor, a principal at consultants Milliman Inc. They would adjust rates to reflect costs in each location, even if all the policies were under the same regulatory regime, he said.

Reality is a UX

Suppose there’s a blue rectangular icon on the lower right corner of your computer’s desktop — does that mean that the file itself is blue and rectangular and lives in the lower right corner of your computer? Of course not. But those are the only things that can be asserted about anything on the desktop — it has color, position, and shape. Those are the only categories available to you, and yet none of them are true about the file itself or anything in the computer. They couldn’t possibly be true. That’s an interesting thing. You could not form a true description of the innards of the computer if your entire view of reality was confined to the desktop. And yet the desktop is useful. That blue rectangular icon guides my behavior, and it hides a complex reality that I don’t need to know. That’s the key idea. Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive.

White supremacy is more than racism?

“With the exception of actual neo-Nazis and a few others, there isn't anyone in America who's trying to promote the idea that whites are inherently superior to blacks or Latinos,” he argued. “Conversely, there are loads of Americans who display signs of overt racism—or unconscious bias or racial insensitivity or resentment over loss of status—in varying degrees. This isn't just pedantic. It matters. It's bad enough that liberals toss around charges of racism with more abandon than we should, but it's far worse if we start calling every sign of racial animus—big or small, accidental or deliberate—white supremacy. I can hardly imagine a better way of proving to the non-liberal community that we're all a bunch of out-of-touch nutbars who are going to label everyone and everything we don't like as racist.”

A friend of a friend is ... a dense network | EurekAlert! Science News

In their recent paper published in Physical Review Letters, the researchers constructed a general network evolution in which every new node links to one target node already in the network, as well as to each of the neighbors of the target (that is, friends of friends), with copying probability p. The likelihood of each of these "copying" steps turns out to be the crucial factor in how the network evolves. If copying is unlikely, the network evolves into a sparse, skeleton-like framework. But when the copying probability is greater than 1/2, the network becomes dense, with the number of links growing faster than the network itself. This "densifying" behavior has been observed in real world data, such as research paper citation lists, internet router maps, and other networks.

Art and pricing

Very low prices made participants like art less, very high prices made them like art more.

Fragmented discourse, in commercial speech too.

While his team at Giles-Parscale designed the ads, Parscale invited a variety of companies to set up shop in San Antonio to help determine which social media ads were most effective. Those companies test ad variations against one another—the campaign has ultimately generated 100,000 distinct pieces of creative content—and then roll out the strongest performers to broader audiences. At the same time, Parscale made the vendors, tech companies with names such as Sprinklr and Kenshoo, compete Apprentice-style; those whose algorithms fared worst in drumming up donors lost their contracts. Each time Parscale returned to San Antonio from Trump Tower, he would find that some vendors had been booted from their offices.

How Trump digital got started

He hustled consulting gigs, going door to door and cold-calling local businesses. “My first year, I tapped on shoulders in a bookstore to get my first customers, people who were buying web books, and asked if they needed help,” he says. One day in 2010, the phone rang. It was Kathy Kaye, the new head of Trump International Realty. “She said, ‘Would you like to bid on building the Trump website?’ ” Parscale recalls. “I said yeah. I bid $10,000 on the first website. I think they were shocked how cheap it was. Next thing I know, I’m talking to Ivanka. So they signed a contract with me, and I wrote the website by myself. I told ’em I’d give all the money back if they didn’t like it.” The Trumps liked it. He eventually built sites for Trump Winery and the Eric Trump Foundation. When Trump launched a presidential exploratory committee, he knew who could build a website for him on the cheap: Parscale charged $1,500.

Trump data base of voters

Trump’s revolutionary database, named Project Alamo, contains the identities of 220 million people in the United States, and approximately 4,000 to 5,000 individual data points about the online and offline life of each person. Funded entirely by the Trump campaign, this database is owned by Trump and continues to exist.

Find your motivation to run across Iceland! - Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less

Racery serves as an amazing (and judgement-free) daily reminder to be active. You know that if you haven’t done something by 4 pm, their email will arrive and encourage you to get out and move.

Single dose of hallucinogenic drug psilocybin relieves anxiety and depression in patients with advanced cancer | EurekAlert! Science News

Published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology online Dec.1, the study showed that one-time treatment with the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin -- whose use required federal waivers because it is a banned substance -- quickly brought relief from distress that then lasted for more than six months in 80 percent of the 29 study subjects monitored, based on clinical evaluation scores for anxiety and depression. The NYU Langone-led study was published side by side with a similar study from Johns Hopkins. Study results were also endorsed in 11 accompanying editorials from leading experts in psychiatry, addiction, and palliative care. "Our results represent the strongest evidence to date of a clinical benefit from psilocybin therapy, with the potential to transform care for patients with cancer-related psychological distress," says study lead investigator Stephen Ross, MD, director of substance abuse services in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone. "If larger clinical trials prove successful, then we could ultimately have available a safe, effective, and inexpensive medication -- dispensed under strict control -- to alleviate the distress that increases suicide rates among cancer patients," says Ross, also an associate professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. Study co-investigator Jeffrey Guss, MD, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU Langone, notes that psilocybin has been studied for decades and has an established safety profile. Study participants, he says, experienced no serious negative effects, such as hospitalization or more serious mental health conditions. Although the neurological benefits of psilocybin are not completely understood, it has been proven to activate parts of the brain also impacted by the signaling chemical serotonin, which is known to control mood and anxiety. Serotonin imbalances have also been linked to depression. For the study, half of the participants were randomly assigned to receive a 0.3 milligrams per kilogram dose of psilocybin while the rest received a vitamin placebo (250 milligrams of niacin) known to produce a "rush" that mimics a hallucinogenic drug experience. Approximately half way through the study's monitoring period (after seven weeks), all participants switched treatments. Those who initially received psilocybin took a single dose of placebo, and those who first took niacin, then received psilocybin. Neither patients nor researchers knew who had first received psilocybin or placebo. Guss says, "The randomization, placebo control, and double-blind procedures maximized the validity of the study results." One of the key findings was that improvements in clinical evaluation scores for anxiety and depression lasted for the remainder of the study's extended monitoring period -- specifically, eight months for those who took psilocybin first.

Portions of the brain fall asleep and wake back up all the time, Stanford researchers find | EurekAlert! Science News

The team used what amounts to sets of very sensitive pins that can record activity from a column of neurons in the brain. In the past, people had known that individual neurons go through phases of being more or less active, but with this probe they saw for the first time that all the neurons in a given column cycled together between firing very rapidly then firing at a much slower rate, similar to coordinated cycles in sleep. "During an on state the neurons all start firing rapidly," said Kwabena Boahen, a professor of bioengineering and electrical engineering at Stanford and a senior author on the paper. "Then all of a sudden they just switch to a low firing rate. This on and off switching is happening all the time, as if the neurons are flipping a coin to decide if they are going to be on or off." Those cycles, which occur on the order of seconds or fractions of seconds, weren't as visible when awake because the wave doesn't propagate much beyond that column, unlike in sleep when the wave spreads across almost the entire brain and is easy to detect.

Use your words: Written prisoner interactions predict whether they’ll clean up their acts -- ScienceDaily

The first, called "pushups," are congratulatory notes to a peer -- something like, "Good job talking about your triggers in group today, man." The second, called "pull-ups," are meant to steer a fellow prisoner toward better choices -- something like, "Hey brother, next time try talking to me instead of getting into a fight." Once approved as appropriate for group consumption, the written notes are typically read aloud to the group during meal time or a meeting. Doogan and Warren examined how these communications changed for each of 2,342 men included in their study. They looked at pushups and pull-ups in each inmate's first two to three months in the program and held those up against the messages they sent fellow prisoners in the second two to three months. In all, the researchers analyzed about 267,000 messages. Only graduates of the program were included in the study. The more their word combinations shifted, the greater the chance the men didn't return to prison. In cases where the inmates did return, those who showed the least change in how they thought and wrote tended to return to prison most quickly. The study didn't focus on "positive" or "negative" word choice, but on change in general, with the goal of getting a handle on whether the program was reshaping the participant's way of thinking, Doogan said. "It wasn't so much sentiment, but whether we could measure some form of change in the individual," he said. The sheer number of interactions for an individual resident didn't seem to make a difference -- only the changing nature of those notes. That's important because it seems to mean that simply interacting isn't enough and that a person has to be engaged and evolve in his thinking, the researchers said. Shifts in how we put together our thoughts and express them in writing are a good indication of a true evolution in how we think, Warren said. "Learning is a change in connections between ideas," he said. "In a therapeutic community, you would hope that they are abandoning some old connections and developing some new ones." The researchers created a tool for analyzing word choices, identifying 500 words that could potentially be combined in a note to one participant from another. Doogan and Warren counted change when inmates added new word combinations or abandoned old ones. They attempted to control for variables outside of changed language including race, age and education level. Understanding -- and being able to measure -- changes linked to reduced rates of repeat incarceration could eventually help program directors refine how they approach different participants, the researchers said. For instance, if it was clear an addict's communications with others in the program were not changing in nature, it might be a clue that the individual needed more one-on-one attention, Doogan said.

Two years after buying Elite Daily, the Daily Mail says the Facebook publisher is worthless - Recode

The owner of the Daily Mail, the publisher that bought Elite Daily in January 2015, says the New York-based startup has been a bust, and has written down all of its investment in the money-losing company, citing “poor performance.” It is taking a $31 million loss in the process. […] “audience retention and revenue growth have been disappointing and losses have exceeded expectations,” leading to the write-off.

Even with a joke, anchoring moves an offer up 10%

As expected, participants did anchor on the first number presented during the salary negotiation — even when that number was intended as a joke. When the bidding started off with the mention of $100,000 the average offer was $35,385 compared to an offer of $32,463 for the control group. That is, the high salary joke actually paid off with an extra $3,000 a year.

How Expressing Gratitude Might Change Your Brain

participants who’d completed the gratitude task months earlier not only reported feeling more gratefulness two weeks after the task than members of the control group, but also, months later, showed more gratitude-related brain activity in the scanner. The researchers described these “profound” and “long-lasting” neural effects as “particularly noteworthy,” and they highlighted that one of the main regions that showed this increased sensitivity — the “pregenual anterior cingulate,” which is known to be involved in predicting the effects of one’s own actions on other people — overlaps with a key brain region identified in the only previous study on the neurological footprint of gratitude.

Charlie Engle Runs for His Life, Once Again - The New York Times

there was a small gravel track. A little at a time, Engle began running on it. […] he decided to run 135 miles, the same length as Badwater, and to do it on the same day in July that Badwater was being held on the West Coast. Of course he had to prepare — at one point the prison was in lockdown, and he couldn’t get outdoors to do the 15-miler he had planned that day. So he ran the equivalent of 15 miles in place in his cell. And although it took him two days — because he had to go back to his cell at night — he pulled it off, running 81 miles the first day and 54 the next. “Prison officials weren’t too happy about it,” recalled Howell Weltz, a former prison inmate who befriended Engle and confirmed Engle’s account of prison life. “They tried to bust it up by saying he was violating the rules by not wearing a T-shirt,’’ Weltz said. “Charlie calmly walked over to where his T-shirt was, put it on, and then continued running. He has a lot of guts.”