henry copeland @hc

having fun with people and pixels, via racery, pullquote, twiangulate, improv, running

Recent quotes:

One by one, historical events are rewritten by the Orbán regime – Hungarian Spectrum

The Budapest Festival Orchestra was performing an all-Beethoven concert on August 18, and Iván Fischer decided to give away 400 tickets to the German visitors. And they came. As he said later, they could easily be spotted by their casual outfits. Once the concert was over, a large group of diplomats from the West German Embassy thanked Fischer for his gesture. They told him that during intermission they had distributed pamphlets to the refugees informing them of the narrow window of opportunity at Sopron the next day. Of course, the concert was just one of the places where the German refugees could be reached, but this story is further proof of the joint domestic and international effort to help the refugees. I should add that Prime Minister Miklós Németh paid several visits to the Zugliget temporary shelter. Opposition leaders were giving the government advice on possible ways to solve the problem, as László Kovács, deputy to Gyula Horn, wrote in an article yesterday titled “On the background of the opening of the borders.” But this is not how the Orbán government wants Hungarians to remember the summer of 1989. As we know, Helmut Kohl’s government felt enormous gratitude for what the Germans considered to be a courageous and humane gesture involving considerable danger considering the still fluid political situation in the Soviet Union. As Boris Kálnoky relates in his article “Merkels überraschend neuer Ton bei ihrem Orbán-Besuch,” Zoltán Balog, former politician and apparently future bishop, said at a two-day conference on the Pan-European Picnic’s thirtieth anniversary that “this praise of the Germans for the former communist dictatorship disturbed us, dissidents even then, and it bothers us to this day.” He claimed that “without our pressure, the communists would never have changed.”

Study may show why drugs cure brain disorders in mice but not us - STAT

Scientists have now discovered a key reason for that mouse-human disconnect, they reported on Wednesday: fundamental differences in the kinds of cells in each species’ cerebral cortex and, especially, in the activity of those cells’ key genes. In the most detailed taxonomy of the human brain to date, a team of researchers as large as a symphony orchestra sorted brain cells not by their shape and location, as scientists have done for decades, but by what genes they used. Among the key findings: Mouse and human neurons that have been considered to be the same based on such standard classification schemes can have large (tenfold or greater) differences in the expression of genes for such key brain components as neurotransmitter receptors.

What drives inflammation in type 2 diabetes? Not glucose, says new research - ScienceBlog.com

The team was surprised to find that glycolysis wasn’t driving chronic inflammation. Instead, a combination of defects in mitochondria and elevated fat derivatives were responsible.

The Real Problem At Yale Is Not Free Speech | Palladium Magazine

Nicholas Christakis was ousted as if he were a bad guy. His on-campus family was bullied. His entire life was cast aside over one email, as if the email were the one standard by which he should be judged.

The Real Problem At Yale Is Not Free Speech | Palladium Magazine

Except this did so little to actually help any of these people that this could not possibly have been the main motivation. None of this was actually to their benefit, except for the few activists willing to invest time and energy into the game. It is not easy to stay up-to-date with the new, ever-more-complex rules about what you are allowed to say to qualify as the bare minimum of sociable and sane. It is cognitively and socially demanding. I had to not just study psychology and computer science, but I had to stay up-to-date with the latest PhD-level critical theory just to have conversations.

The Real Problem At Yale Is Not Free Speech | Palladium Magazine

You must understand—a woman—one professor—wrote an email, and the entire campus went insane.

In product design, imagining end user's feelings leads to more original outcomes -- ScienceDaily

"You always want to have new products that solve problems more efficiently, more effectively and at a lesser cost. So product designers fall into this trap of being very objective in focusing on the utility of a product. That's important, but the objectivity of the thought process only takes them so far, because they're not imagining how the product will ultimately make consumers feel." When designers start incorporating what they perceive the end user's feelings will be into product design, "what that does is enhance empathy for the consumer -- and that, in turn, produces more out-of-the-box ideas. That's our big takeaway: When you imagine consumers and focus on their feelings, that's powerful and will lead to something much more innovative than only focusing on a product's utility."

Men's teams only?

"Our results do not give leaders a license to be a jerk," Staw says, "but when you have a very important project or a merger that needs to get done over the weekend, negative emotions can be a very useful arrow to have in your quiver to drive greater performance."

High-fat diet and gut bacteria linked to insulin resistance -- ScienceDaily

Overall, the research highlights a robust connection between high fat diets, obesity and the lack of gut IgA in promoting inflammation and insulin resistance. The knowledge that this class of antibodies regulate pathogenic bacteria, and protects against a "leaky gut," and additional complications of obesity, is a powerful tool in the fight against diabetes.

What's more powerful, word-of-mouth or following someone else's lead? -- ScienceDaily

They found that word-of-mouth referrals from the community network is the largest driver among the social learning forces they studied. And while word-of -mouth was more powerful than observed adoptions, both factors are significant in influencing social learning. "While both word-of-mouth and observed adoptions are highly influential in affecting a person's social learning, our results show that each provide unique and different information that individuals use in their decision-making," said Ameri. "Ultimately, we found that a person's community network is the primary source of information driving anime watching decisions and behaviors."

The Influence of Industry Sponsorship on the Research Agenda: A Scoping Review

Corporate interests can drive research agendas away from questions that are the most relevant for public health. Strategies to counteract corporate influence on the research agenda are needed, including heightened disclosure of funding sources and conflicts of interest in published articles to allow an assessment of commercial biases. We also recommend policy actions beyond disclosure such as increasing funding for independent research and strict guidelines to regulate the interaction of research institutes with commercial entities.

Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets - The New York Times

“Coca-Cola’s sales are slipping, and there’s this huge political and public backlash against soda, with every major city trying to do something to curb consumption,” said Michele Simon, a public health lawyer. “This is a direct response to the ways that the company is losing. They’re desperate to stop the bleeding.” Coke has made a substantial investment in the new nonprofit. In response to requests based on state open-records laws, two universities that employ leaders of the Global Energy Balance Network disclosed that Coke had donated $1.5 million last year to start the organization.

Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and research outcome and quality: systematic review. - PubMed - NCBI

30 studies were included. Research funded by drug companies was less likely to be published than research funded by other sources. Studies sponsored by pharmaceutical companies were more likely to have outcomes favouring the sponsor than were studies with other sponsors (odds ratio 4.05; 95% confidence interval 2.98 to 5.51; 18 comparisons). None of the 13 studies that analysed methods reported that studies funded by industry was of poorer quality.

Rye is healthy, thanks to an interplay of microbes -- ScienceDaily

Many of the compounds found in rye are processed by gut bacteria before getting absorbed into the body. The study found that gut microbes and microbes found in sourdough produce compounds that are partially the same. However, gut microbes also produce derivatives of trimethylglycine, also known as betaine, contained in rye. An earlier study by the research group has shown that at least one of these derivatives reduces the need for oxygen in heart muscle cells, which may protect the heart from ischemia or possibly even enhance its performance. The findings can explain some of the health benefits of rye, including better blood sugar levels and a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Sleep is essential for business leaders seeking next successful venture -- ScienceDaily

In the second part of the study, a smaller group of participants evaluated the pitches over several weeks while charting their sleep patterns. Those participants who had at least seven hours of sleep each night consistently selected the best pitches identified by the expert panel. Those who had less sleep or restless sleep did not consistently pick the best pitches. "The evidence suggests that less sleep leads to less accurate beliefs about the commercial potential of a new venture idea," Gish says. "Since we compared individual performance over multiple days, we can say that these results are consistent even for entrepreneurs who don't sleep as much on average as the general population."

Blood pressure monitoring may one day be easy as taking a video selfie -- ScienceDaily

The researchers compared systolic, diastolic and pulse pressure measurements captured from smartphone videos to blood pressure readings using a traditional cuff-based continuous blood pressure measurement device. The researchers used the data they gathered to teach the technology how to accurately determine blood pressure and pulse from facial blood flow patterns. They found that on average, transdermal optical imaging predicted systolic blood pressure with nearly 95% accuracy and diastolic blood pressure with pulse pressure at nearly 96% accuracy.

Blood pressure recording over 24 hours is the best predictor of heart and vascular disease -- ScienceDaily

"Our research highlights the necessity of using 24-hour measurements to diagnose high blood pressure and to institute and fine tune its treatment," said Dr. Maestre. "Nevertheless, most health insurers in the US reimburse 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring only when blood pressure is found to be high in the clinical setting, but is suspected to be normal otherwise, or if undetected or masked hypertension is suspected. However, 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is cost effective: It enables the prevention of cardiovascular disease by starting treatment in a timely manner."

Cost savings due to n-of-1

Omeprazole was the appropriate treatment in only 52% of these chronic users of acid-suppressing drugs. Eleven of 27 trials (41%) indicated that ranitidine was the preferred treatment. The SPT method proved acceptable to patients, feasible to administer, and reproducible. It can statistically discriminate effectiveness and adverse events and serve as a useful, prognostic tool in community practice by determining the least costly, evidence-based, appropriate treatment.

“How to Grow Old” by Bertrand Russell - Ben Yan

Some old people are oppressed by the fear of death. In the young there there is a justification for this feeling. Young men who have reason to fear that they will be killed in battle may justifiably feel bitter in the thought that they have been cheated of the best things that life has to offer. But in an old man who has known human joys and sorrows, and has achieved whatever work it was in him to do, the fear of death is somewhat abject and ignoble. The best way to overcome it -so at least it seems to me- is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being. The man who, in old age, can see his life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he cares for will continue.

Digital games may beat mindfulness apps at relieving stress, new study shows -- ScienceDaily

Participants who played the shape-fitting game ("Block! Hexa Puzzle") reported feeling more energised and less tired afterwards, while those in the mindfulness and fidget-spinner groups reported the opposite: their level of "energetic arousal" appeared to decline. In a second part of the study, participants who played a shape-fitting game after arriving home from work for five days reported feeling more relaxed by the end of the week than those who were asked to use a mindfulness app.

Study casts doubt on evidence for 'gold standard' psychological treatments -- ScienceDaily

"One of the things that becomes really obvious when you look at the literature is researchers are collecting and analyzing their data in ways that are extremely flexible," Sakaluk said. "If you don't follow certain rules of statistical inference, you can inadvertently trick yourself into claiming effects that aren't really there. For EST research, it may become important to define in advance what researchers are going to do -- like how they'll analyze data -- and go on record in a way that restricts what they're going to do. This would coincide with a movement to encourage researchers to propose what they'd like to do and get reviewers and journal editors to weigh in before -- not after -- scientists do research, and to publish it irrespective of what they find."

Jogging and five other exercises ward off weight gain despite 'obesity genes' -- ScienceDaily

A new study of 18,424 Han Chinese adults, aged 30 to 70 years, examined the interactions between the individuals' genetics and their self-reported exercise routines. The researchers looked specifically at five measures of obesity, such as body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and waist-to-hip ratio. They found that regular jogging was the best type of exercise for managing obesity, according to the five measures. Moreover, mountain climbing, walking, power walking, certain types of dancing, and long yoga practices also reduce BMI in individuals predisposed to obesity. Surprisingly, cycling, stretching exercises, swimming and Dance Dance Revolution did not counteract the genetic effects on obesity.

Saving the Endangered Physician-Scientist — A Plan for Accelerating Medical Breakthroughs | NEJM

In the past four decades, however, the proportion of U.S. physicians engaged in research has dwindled from a peak of 4.7% of the overall physician workforce in the 1980s to approximately 1.5% today.

One or the other: Why strength training might come at the expense of endurance muscles -- ScienceDaily

This remodeling of the neuromuscular synapses during strength training results in the body developing more strength muscle fibers. "However, strength muscle growth occurs at the expense of the endurance fibers. More precisely, through the release of BDNF, the endurance muscles are transformed into strength muscles," clarifies Handschin. This makes BDNF a factor proven to be produced by the muscle itself and to influence the type of muscle fibers formed.

Secret to more efficient learning: Order counts when studying just about any subject -- ScienceDaily

The results of the study indicate that students who see objects first and then hear the name -- object-label learners -- process inconsistent information better than learners who hear the name first and then see the object. Researchers detected that learners that interact with the object before hearing the name perform "frequency boosting" -- the ability to process noisy, inconsistent information to identify and use the most frequent rule. For example, when teachers interchangeably use "soda" or "pop" to describe the name of a carbonated beverage, the children who use frequency boosting will learn to use the term that is used most frequently. A key feature of frequency boosting is that learners will also use the rule more consistently than the instructor.

The Hidden Costs of Automated Thinking | The New Yorker

A world of knowledge without understanding becomes a world without discernible cause and effect, in which we grow dependent on our digital concierges to tell us what to do and when.