henry copeland @hc

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

Recent quotes:

Why Do Rich People Love Endurance Sports? | Outside Online

“By flooding the consciousness with gnawing unpleasantness, pain provides a temporary relief from the burdens of self-awareness,” write the researchers. “When leaving marks and wounds, pain helps consumers create the story of a fulfilled life. In a context of decreased physicality, [obstacle course races] play a major role in selling pain to the saturated selves of knowledge workers, who use pain as a way to simultaneously escape reflexivity and craft their life narrative.”

Why Do Rich People Love Endurance Sports?

One hypothesis is that endurance sports offer something that most modern-day knowledge economy jobs do not: the chance to pursue a clear and measurable goal with a direct line back to the work they have put in. In his book Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, philosopher Matthew Crawford writes that “despite the proliferation of contrived metrics,” most knowledge economy jobs suffer from “a lack of objective standards.”

Sexual Consequences of Post-SSRI Syndrome

There are some indications that antidepressant-emergent sexual dysfunctions do not always resolve after discontinuation of the medication and can persist indefinitely in some individuals. Although some or all sexual side effects that start with the use of SSRIs might continue after stopping the medication, other sexual complaints can develop. Decreased capacity to experience sexual pleasure is the most frequent characteristic of this syndrome.

Antibiotics found to weaken body's ability to fight off disease -- ScienceDaily

"Neutrophils play an important role as a first-line 'innate immune response' when foreign pathogens invade," said researcher Koji Watanabe, PhD. "We found that antibiotic disruption of the natural microbes in the gut prevented this from happening properly, leaving the gut susceptible to severe infection."

Surprising discovery about how neurons talk to each other -- ScienceDaily

The team then demonstrated that the increase in acidity was driven by a transport channel in the cell's surface, which allowed an influx of negatively charged glutamate ions to enter the neuron, thus increasing its acidity. Genetically removing the transporter in fruit flies and mice made the animals less responsive to amphetamine, a drug that exerts its effect by stimulating dopamine release from neurons. "In this case, glutamate is not acting as a neurotransmitter. Instead it is functioning primarily as a source of negative charge, which is being used by these vesicles in a really clever way to manipulate vesicle acidity and therefore change their dopamine content," Freyberg said. "This calls into question the whole textbook model of vesicles as having fixed amounts of single neurotransmitters. It appears that these vesicles contain both dopamine and glutamate, and dynamically modify their content to match the conditions of the cell as needed."

Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration

Drug–placebo differences in antidepressant efficacy increase as a function of baseline severity, but are relatively small even for severely depressed patients. The relationship between initial severity and antidepressant efficacy is attributable to decreased responsiveness to placebo among very severely depressed patients, rather than to increased responsiveness to medication.

Mice Genetically Depleted of Brain Serotonin Do Not Display a Depression-like Behavioral Phenotype - ACS Chemical Neuroscience (ACS Publications)

Reductions in function within the serotonin (5HT) neuronal system have long been proposed as etiological factors in depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common treatment for depression, and their therapeutic effect is generally attributed to their ability to increase the synaptic levels of 5HT. Tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2) is the initial and rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway of 5HT in the CNS, and losses in its catalytic activity lead to reductions in 5HT production and release. The time differential between the onset of 5HT reuptake inhibition by SSRIs (minutes) and onset of their antidepressant efficacy (weeks to months), when considered with their overall poor therapeutic effectiveness, has cast some doubt on the role of 5HT in depression. Mice lacking the gene for TPH2 are genetically depleted of brain 5HT and were tested for a depression-like behavioral phenotype using a battery of valid tests for affective-like disorders in animals. The behavior of TPH2–/– mice on the sucrose preference test, tail suspension test, and forced swim test and their responses in the unpredictable chronic mild stress and learned helplessness paradigms was the same as wild-type controls. While TPH2–/– mice as a group were not responsive to SSRIs, a subset responded to treatment with SSRIs in the same manner as wild-type controls with significant reductions in immobility time on the tail suspension test, indicative of antidepressant drug effects. The behavioral phenotype of the TPH2–/– mouse questions the role of 5HT in depression. Furthermore, the TPH2–/– mouse may serve as a useful model in the search for new medications that have therapeutic targets for depression that are outside of the 5HT neuronal system.

Is serotonin an upper or a downer? The evolution of the serotonergic system and its role in depression and the antidepressant response - ScienceDirect

The role of serotonin in depression and antidepressant treatment remains unresolved despite decades of research. In this paper, we make three major claims. First, serotonin transmission is elevated in multiple depressive phenotypes, including melancholia, a subtype associated with sustained cognition. The primary challenge to this first claim is that the direct pharmacological effect of most symptom-reducing medications, such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), is to increase synaptic serotonin. The second claim, which is crucial to resolving this paradox, is that the serotonergic system evolved to regulate energy. By increasing extracellular serotonin, SSRIs disrupt energy homeostasis and often worsen symptoms during acute treatment. Our third claim is that symptom reduction is not achieved by the direct pharmacological properties of SSRIs, but by the brain's compensatory responses that attempt to restore energy homeostasis. These responses take several weeks to develop, which explains why SSRIs have a therapeutic delay. We demonstrate the utility of our claims by examining what happens in animal models of melancholia and during acute and chronic SSRI treatment.

Enterprise fund spending

▸ Enterprise funds. The House report on the bill offered a highly critical assessment of the Hungarian-American Enterprise Fund, one of several such equity and credit funds established to promote business development. The report said that the fund had failed to notify Congress before investing $4 million in a new merchant bank. The bank, called EurAmerica, paid three of its managers annualized salaries of almost $400,000 each. The report reverberated from Washington to Budapest as the president of the Enterprise Fund, Alexander Tomlinson, resigned and the organization cut the salaries of EurAmerica's officials. AID moved to tighten oversight of the enterprise funds, which had operated with considerable latitude since their creation. Chairman David R. Obey, D-Wis., of the House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee also had questioned the legal costs run up by the enterprise funds. Since their creation, several of the funds had been represented by the New York-based law firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges. According to an article in the Legal Times newspaper, the firm had reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees from the arrangement.

15 Best French TV Series to Learn French for All Levels

Soap opera based in the fictional “le Mistral” neighbourhood in the Mediterranean port-city of Marseille. With more plot twists than a Hollywood movie, and plenty of melodrama, it’s more escapist than realistic in its portrayal of contemporary France.

Increased brain acidity in psychiatric disorders -- ScienceDaily

Researchers at the Institute for Comprehensive Medical Science at Fujita Health University in Japan, along with colleagues from eight other institutions, have identified decreased pH levels in the brains of five different mouse models of mental disorders, including models of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism spectrum disorder. This decrease in pH likely reflects an underlying pathophysiology in the brain associated with these mental disorders, according to the study published August 4th in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

A DIY Pharmaceutical Revolution Is Coming—If It Doesn’t Kill Us First

At Harvard’s Wyss Institute, biochemist Peter Nguyen is developing a system for medical field operatives that he hopes will make preparing life-saving drugs much like making a Cup of Noodles. Last fall, he co-authored a paper in the journal Cell on how to use freeze-dried pellets and water to make drugs on the fly. The pellets contain the necessary chemical building blocks for certain drugs, cells stripped of their inner materials that translate genetic instructions into molecules, then frozen, and dried out. They also freeze-dried the DNA carrying the instructions for how to make specific drug-creating molecules. Add water, and kickstart the chemical reactions that would turn them into therapies.

A DIY Pharmaceutical Revolution Is Coming—If It Doesn’t Kill Us First

If you’ve ever built Ikea furniture though, you might quibble with how easy it really is to put together without error. Instructions for an alpha version of the “Apothecary MicroLab” offered on Four Thieves Vinegar’s website were difficult to understand at best, explaining how to build an automated lab reactor using, among other things, an open-source sous vide controller and a mason jar. Laufer envisions that his army of DIY chemists will build and then program this minilab to manufacture small quantities of their drug of choice. Recently, he uploaded instructions on how to make Daraprin, the medication that Martin Shkreli controversially raised from $13.50 to $750 per tablet.

Why humans find faulty robots more likeable: New social robotics research finds that humans prefer interacting with faulty robots significantly more than with robots that function and behave flawlessly -- ScienceDaily

By means of video coding, the researchers could replicate their findings from earlier studies and show that humans respond to faulty robot behavior with social signals. Through interviews and user ratings, the research team found that somewhat surprisingly, erroneous robots were not perceived as significantly less intelligent or anthropomorphic compared to perfectly performing robots. Instead, although the humans recognized the faulty robot's mistakes, they actually rated it as more likeable than its perfectly performing counterpart.

CBT plus video games plus heart rate monitors

In a subsequent outpatient study the researchers randomized 20 youth to 10 cognitive behavior therapy sessions and videogame therapy that required them to control their heart rate, and 20 youth to CBT with the same videogame but not linked to heart rates. All the adolescents had anger or aggression problems, said Dr. Gonzalez-Heydrich, who was senior author of the study. Therapists interviewed the children’s primary caregiver before and two weeks after their last therapy session. They found the children’s ratings on aggression and opposition were reduced much more in the group that played the game with the built-in biofeedback. The ratings for anger went down about the same in both groups. The findings were presented at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry conference in 2015. The study is currently under review for publication.

Screening those at risk of psychosis may help prevent violence, reduce stigma: Study shows that violent ideation before first psychotic episode highly correlates with violent acts -- ScienceDaily

The direct question "have you had thoughts of harming anyone else?," elicited zero responses of violent ideation from any of the 200 participants. However, the indirect question "have you felt that you are not in control of your own ideas or thoughts?" elicited reports of violent ideation from 56 individuals.

Ravens have paranoid, abstract thoughts about other minds | WIRED UK

The ability to hide food is extremely important to ravens, and they behave completely differently when they feel they are being watched -- hiding food more quickly, for example, and are less likely to return to a hiding place for fear of revealing the location to a competitor. READ NEXT Drones are bad news for planes, but geese are a nightmare <img src="https://wi-images.condecdn.net/image/XD7Oe04wnvg/crop/200/square" class="global__image" /> Drones are bad news for planes, but geese are a nightmare By James Temperton The study replicated this behaviour. Two rooms were connected by windows and peepholes, both of which could be opened and closed. The ravens were trained to look through the peepholes to observe human experimenters making stashes of food. Finally, both windows were covered while a single peephole remained open -- and, though no bird was present, the ravens still hid the food as if they were being watched.


Hoppiness is measured in IBUs (International Bitterness Units), which indicate the concentration of isomerized alpha acid—the compound that makes hops taste bitter. Most beer judges agree that even with an experienced palate, most human beings can’t detect any differences above 60 IBUs. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, one of the hoppiest beers of its time, clocks in at 37 IBUs. Some of today's India pale ales, like Lagunitas’ Hop Stoopid, measure around 100 IBUs. Russian River’s Pliny the Younger, one of the most sought-after beers in the world, has three times as many hops as the brewery’s standard IPA; the hops are added on eight separate occasions during the brewing process.

Hoppy beer is awful—or at least, its bitterness is ruining craft beer’s reputation.

In 1980, when most of the nation’s beers were produced by Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Schlitz, Pabst, and Coors, Sierra Nevada’s pale ale was a revelation. Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman added way more hops than most brewers at the time would ever consider using. But he used a recently discovered American variety called the Cascade, a hop whose big, bitter bite was counterbalanced by a sweet grapefruit scent and a spicy aftertaste. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a beautiful beer with an aggressive edge, and it’s the beer that put me, and so many others, on the path to craft beer enthusiasm.

Trump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on Clinton - The New York Times

In a statement on Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. said he had met with the Russian lawyer at the request of an acquaintance. “After pleasantries were exchanged,” he said, “the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.” He said she then turned the conversation to adoption of Russian children and the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers. The law so enraged Mr. Putin that he retaliated by halting American adoptions of Russian children. “It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting.” Mr. Trump said.

The Wall Street Journal shutters eight blogs: “The tools for telling” stories have changed » Nieman Journalism Lab

“If it were 100 years ago, this would have lasted for 50 years, but the way technology changes and the way reader nature changes every five years now, its lifespan was just so much shorter,” New York Times metro editor Wendell Jamieson said at the time. “That doesn’t mean it wasn’t an important bridge, but it’s a different industry than it was when City Room launched. It’s truly the post-blog era, and I barely had time to get into the blog era.”

Learning with music can change brain structure: Using musical cues to learn a physical task significantly develops an important part of the brain, according to a new study -- ScienceDaily

After four weeks of practice, both groups of volunteers performed equally well at learning the sequences, researchers at the University of Edinburgh found. Using MRI scans, it was found that the music group showed a significant increase in structural connectivity in the white matter tract that links auditory and motor regions on the right side of the brain. The non-music group showed no change.

New study looks at attitudes of drivers toward cyclists, and it ain't pretty : TreeHugger

Tara's original work reinforces this idea of social domination; you see this in many of the survey results. For instance, the most anti-cyclist, pro-drivist drivers are the least likely to bother even to turn their heads to check for cyclists, which is a good way to prevent right hooks and left turn deaths. They really just don't care. The more they dislike cyclists, the more willing they are to kill them.

8% of adolescents show psychotic symptoms? (Pot moves you from 3% to 10% to get 8% global?)

To do their study, the research team first confirmed results from both the United Kingdom and Netherlands showing the presence of a small group of individuals (in Montreal, 8%) among the general population of adolescents who report recurrent psychotic-like experiences. Second, the researchers explored how marijuana use between 13 and 16 years of age increases the likelihood of belonging to the 8%. Finally, they examined whether the relationship between increasing use of marijuana and increasing psychotic-like experiences can be explained by emerging symptoms of anxiety or depression, or by the effects of substance use on developing cognitive abilities.

How Cyclists Can Stay Safe on the Road - WSJ

Although fluorescent jackets can make people more visible generally, in this experiment the fluorescent jersey didn’t make the cyclist significantly more recognizable as a cyclist than a black jersey. When the cyclist wore fluorescent leg coverings, however, observers recognized he was a cyclist more than three times farther away on average than when he wore black leggings and a fluorescent jersey.

How quantum trickery can scramble cause and effect : Nature News & Comment

within the mathematical formalism of quantum theory, ambiguity about causation emerges in a perfectly logical and consistent way. And by creating systems that lack a clear flow of cause and effect2, researchers now think they can tap into a rich realm of possibilities. Some suggest that they could boost the already phenomenal potential of quantum computing. “A quantum computer free from the constraints of a predefined causal structure might solve some problems faster than conventional quantum computers,” says quantum theorist Giulio Chiribella of the University of Hong Kong. What's more, thinking about the 'causal structure' of quantum mechanics — which events precede or succeed others — might prove to be more productive, and ultimately more intuitive, than couching it in the typical mind-bending language that describes photons as being both waves and particles, or events as blurred by a haze of uncertainty.