henry copeland @hc

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

Recent quotes:

Consciousness is tied to 'entropy', say researchers - physicsworld.com

Key to this has been the study of synchronization – how the electrical activity of one set of neurons can oscillate in phase with that of another set. Synchronization in turn implies that those sets of neurons are physically tied to one another, just as oscillating physical systems, such as pendulums, become synchronized when they are connected together. The latest work stems from the observation that consciousness, or at least the proper functioning of brains, is associated not with high or even low degrees of synchronicity between neurons but by middling amounts. Jose Luis Perez Velazquez, a biochemist at the University of Toronto, and colleagues hypothesized that what is maximized during consciousness is not connectivity itself but the number of different ways that a certain degree of connectivity can be achieved.

Cohen's first performance

Cohen has always found performing unnerving. His first major attempt came in 1967, when Judy Collins asked him to play at Town Hall, in New York, at an anti-Vietnam War benefit. The idea was that he would make his stage début by singing “Suzanne,” an early song of his that Collins had turned into a hit after he sang it to her on the telephone. “I can’t do it, Judy,” he told her. “I would die from embarrassment.” As Collins writes in her memoir, she finally cajoled him into it, but that night, from the wings, she could see that Cohen, “his legs shaking inside his trousers,” was in trouble. He got halfway through the first verse and then stopped and mumbled an apology. “I can’t go on,” he said and walked off into the wings. Out of sight, Cohen rested his head on Collins’s shoulder as she tried to get him to respond to the encouraging shouts from the crowd. “I can’t do it,” he said. “I can’t go back.” “But you will,” she said, and, finally, he acceded. He went out, with the crowd cheering, and finished singing “Suzanne.”

How long does it take to write a song?

Cohen went to see Dylan perform in Paris, and the next morning in a café they talked about their latest work. Dylan was especially interested in “Hallelujah.” Even before three hundred other performers made “Hallelujah” famous with their cover versions, long before the song was included on the soundtrack for “Shrek” and as a staple on “American Idol,” Dylan recognized the beauty of its marriage of the sacred and the profane. He asked Cohen how long it took him to write. “Two years,” Cohen lied. Actually, “Hallelujah” had taken him five years. He drafted dozens of verses and then it was years more before he settled on a final version. In several writing sessions, he found himself in his underwear, banging his head against a hotel-room floor. Cohen told Dylan, “I really like ‘I and I,’ ” a song that appeared on Dylan’s album “Infidels.” “How long did it take you to write that?” “About fifteen minutes,” Dylan said.

Placebo sleep affects cognitive functioning. - PubMed - NCBI

↓ Full text Placebo sleep affects cognitive functioning. Draganich C, et al. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2014. Show full citation Abstract The placebo effect is any outcome that is not attributed to a specific treatment but rather to an individual's mindset (Benson & Friedman, 1996). This phenomenon can extend beyond its typical use in pharmaceutical drugs to involve aspects of everyday life, such as the effect of sleep on cognitive functioning. In 2 studies examining whether perceived sleep quality affects cognitive functioning, 164 participants reported their previous night's sleep quality. They were then randomly assigned to 1 of 2 sleep quality conditions or 2 control conditions. Those in the "above average" sleep quality condition were informed that they had spent 28.7% of their total sleep time in REM, whereas those in the "below average" sleep quality condition were informed that they had only spent 16.2% of their time in REM sleep. Assigned sleep quality but not self-reported sleep quality significantly predicted participants' scores on the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test and Controlled Oral Word Association Task. Assigned sleep quality did not predict participants' scores on the Digit Span task, as expected, nor did it predict scores on the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, which was unexpected. The control conditions showed that the findings were not due to demand characteristics from the experimental protocol. These findings supported the hypothesis that mindset can influence cognitive states in both positive and negative directions, suggesting a means of controlling one's health and cognition.

Life begins and ends with music

He took some informal guitar lessons in his twenties from a Spaniard he met next to a local tennis court. After a few weeks, he picked up a flamenco chord progression. When the man failed to appear for their fourth lesson, Cohen called his landlady and learned that the man had killed himself. In a speech many years later, in Asturias, Cohen said, “I knew nothing about the man, why he came to Montreal . . . why he appeared at that tennis court, why he took his life. . . . It was those six chords, it was that guitar pattern, that has been the basis of all my songs, and all my music.”

Hiking for a month transforms dude's metabolism

The question I had before my thru-hike was this: Would walking all day, every day, for a month improve my metabolic efficiency when I run at a high intensity? In other words, could I become a better athlete by simply walking?  Before the trip, I was burning 66 percent fat and 34 percent carbs during low-intensity exercise or any activity during which I had a heart rate of 112 bpm. At a slow long-run pace, with a heart rate of 145 bpm, I was burning 52 percent fat and 48 percent carbohydrates. My crossover point—the heart rate at which I was burning carbs and fat equally—was 153 bpm, or a moderate-to-slow running pace.  After the trip, I was, as my test administrator at Real Rehab in Seattle put it, “a fat-burning machine.” At 110 bpm, I was burning 91 percent fat and 9 percent carbohydrates. At 145 bpm, I was burning 70 percent fat and 30 percent carbohydrates. My crossover point had moved to 168 bpm, which I reached at a fairly fast running pace. And even at my maximum heart rate (184 bpm), I was still getting a quarter of my energy from fat.   What does this mean? I can now go on long runs without consuming gels and other foods, or at least a significantly reduced amount. Also, the next time I go backpacking, I will be able to carry less weight in my pack because each gram of fat has nine calories, while a gram of carbohydrate or protein provides less than half that energy—around four calories. This means I can carry more high-fat foods like nuts and cheese, while cutting way back on sugary high-carb snacks like energy bars and candy. Plus, if I run low on food near the end of a trip (something that happened several times between resupplies during our thru-hike), my body will be able to run just fine on body fat until I make it to the next rest stop.

My father’s death by suicide inspired me to learn how to just ‘be’ – The Washington Post – Medium

That “anxiety needs the future,” and “depression needs the past.” My dad suffered deeply from both of these things: his fear and lack of control over all that lay ahead, and his regret over the things he couldn’t go back and change. He suffered from an unhealthy relationship with time. He lost his footing in the here-and-now. And it made him struggle — as all too many of us do — with the age-old Shakespearean dilemma: “To be, or not to be.”

Virtual reality study finds our perception of our body and environment affects how we feel: Interaction of bodily, spatial cues serves to regulate emotions, exploratory behavior -- ScienceDaily

As one might expect, a bouncy gait intensified people's experience of the environment as negative and frightening when they were walking high off the ground. But surprisingly, at ground level a bouncy gait gave people more positive emotions about the environment. This meant high up, a bouncy gait made people explore the environment more below the horizon, whereas on the ground it increased their exploration above the horizon.

what makes for an effective mantra?

An effective mantra addresses what you want to feel, not the adversity you're trying to overcome, says Robert J. Bell, Ph.D., a certified consultant of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. In fact, when discomfort strikes, the worst thing you can do is embrace the pain, says Walker. "When you start thinking, Oh, this hurts, Oh, I have a side stitch, Oh, my legs are tired—those negative thoughts pile on," he says. A good mantra diverts your mind from thoughts that reinforce the pain to thoughts that help you transcend it.

Runner self-talk

The British author Alan Sillitoe got it right in his 1958 short story “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”: “They can spy on us all day to see if we’re … doing our ‘athletics,’ but they can’t make an X-ray of our guts to find out what we’re telling ourselves.”

What We Think About When We Run

The (notably tiny) group of runners spent most of their time thinking about pace and distance—translated cynically, about how hard it was to move at their desired speed (“Come on, keep the stride going, bro”) and about how soon they could stop (“Come on, you have enough energy for a mile and a half”). But, after that, the runners mostly thought about how miserable it was to run. “While all the participants had periods during their run where they appeared to be comfortable and thinking about other things,” the researchers wrote, “pain and discomfort were never far from their thoughts.” Feet went numb, stomachs ached, lungs heaved, exhaustion loomed, hills hurt, heat sapped, vomit threatened; all told, fully a third of runners’ thoughts concerned the downsides of running. The remaining thoughts pertained to the runners’ immediate environment, which the researchers further subdivided: runners had mostly pleasant thoughts about terrain and wildlife, and mostly unpleasant thoughts about weather, traffic, and the other people around them.

Jen A. Miller Update: What happened at the Portland Marathon?

At first, they did nothing. Then when a TV station dug in, and a newspaper dug in, their response was: no big deal - because it didn't affect faster runners.  Here's a quote from Oregon Live, talking to the race director: "'We think that the people who were involved with that are not normally Boston qualifiers,' Smith said. 'The only thing that wold happen is it would impact their personal best.' 'It's not a big deal,' he added."

I Finally Found My Motivation - And Ran from Paris to Amsterdam! | Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh LessEat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less

I paid for races to jumpstart my motivation, but eventually even shelling out $75 for a race was not enough to pressure me into exercising regularly. My well of joy for running had totally dried up. After 5 years of hunkering down into my non-running funk, I finally discovered my magic bullet: virtual racing. I was invited into an online race through Racery.com, and it made running purely fun, social, and extremely motivating. I also uncovered a competitive side I never knew I had!

How Exercise May Turn White Fat Into Brown

Exercise may aid in weight control and help to fend off diabetes by improving the ability of fat cells to burn calories, a new study reports. It may do this in part by boosting levels of a hormone called irisin, which is produced during exercise and which may help to turn ordinary white fat into much more metabolically active brown fat, the findings suggest.

Does a Shoe’s Heel-to-Toe Drop Matter? | Runner's World

Researchers at the Luxembourg Institute of Health followed 533 recreational runners for six months while the subjects did all of their running in models with a 0-, 6-, or 10-millimeter drop. The shoes’ respective stack heights were 21 millimeters in the heel and forefoot; 21 millimeters in the heel and 15 millimeters in the forefoot; and 24 millimeters in the heel and 10 millimeters in the forefoot. The shoes were otherwise identical. With injury defined as a leg or lower-back pain that resulted from running and cut into planned training for at least one day, 25 percent of the runners reported being injured during the six-month study period. The study’s main finding was that injury rates among the three groups were similar—runners got injured at roughly the same rate whether their shoes had a heel-to-toe drop of 0, 6, or 10 millimeters.

Lessons in the Delicate Art of Confronting Offensive Speech - The New York Times

Researchers have detailed the difficulty of confronting prejudice, but they have also found that even the politest of objections – or subtle corrections to loaded words – can almost instantly curb a speaker’s behavior. With a clearer understanding of the dynamics of such confrontation, psychologists say, people can develop tactics that can shut down the unsavory talk without ruining relationships, even when the offender has more status or power: a fraternity president, say, or a team captain or employer.

Gyms That Make You Want to Exercise More - WSJ

Some Precor cardio equipment allows gym members to log in and save workouts. Precor found that people who save workouts go to the gym more often, according to data from about 25 clubs in Canada. “We can’t tell you that a saved workout drives people to come in more often,” Mr. Bartee says. “We just know that people who do save workouts come in more often.” The data also shows that people who log into a cardio machine work out 33% longer than those who don’t log in. People who use a machine’s video-on-demand service also work out 15% longer than those who don’t, Precor data shows.

Running triggers brain repair and extends life in mouse model - Medical News Today

The researchers allowed some of the mice the opportunity to run by installing a wheel into their cages. Surprisingly, the mice given the opportunity to run lived more than 12 months (a relatively normal lifespan for a mouse). On top of their extended lives, the running mice also put on more weight and achieved a better sense of balance, compared with their less active siblings. "We saw that the existing neurons became better insulated and more stable. This means that the unhealthy neurons worked better and the previously damaged circuits in the brain became stronger and more functional." Dr. Matías Alvarez-Saavedra, lead author However, these changes were reversed if the opportunity to exercise was taken away. Once the running wheel was removed, the symptoms returned, and their lives were once more cut short.

Generation Adderall - The New York Times

During the first weeks of finally giving up Adderall, the fatigue was as real as it had been before, the effort required to run even a tiny errand momentous, the gym unthinkable. The cravings were a force of their own: If someone so much as said “Adderall” in my presence, I would instantly begin to scheme about how to get just one more pill. Or maybe two. I was anxious, terrified I had done something irreversible to my brain, terrified that I was going to discover that I couldn’t write at all without my special pills. I didn’t yet know that it would only be in the amphetamine-free years to follow that my book would finally come together.

Gawker Looking Into Lawsuit Against Peter Thiel | Hollywood Reporter

According to the court papers, "Such a tort claim would require the Debtors to show: (1) an intentional infliction of harm; (2) without excuse or justification and motivated solely by malice; (3) resulting in special damages; (4) by an act that would otherwise be lawful. As to the second element of prima facie tort, the plaintiff must show that the defendant was 'solely motivated by malice.' Other motives, such as 'profit, self-interest, or business advantage will defeat a prima facie tort claim.'”

Self-affirmation as the key to argumentation

Could recalling a time when you felt good about yourself make you more broad-minded about highly politicized issues, like the Iraq surge or global warming? As it turns out, it would. On all issues, attitudes became more accurate with self-affirmation, and remained just as inaccurate without. That effect held even when no additional information was presented—that is, when people were simply asked the same questions twice, before and after the self-affirmation.

The mathematics of music history: Patriotism in music is expressed through use of speech rhythms from the composer's native language -- ScienceDaily

Together with colleagues from London and Amsterdam, MIB postdoc Niels Chr. Hansen, analysed thousands of musical themes composed by French, Italian, and Austro-German composers living in 1600-1950. During these years, rhythmic variability in French music was initially low -- just like in Italian music and language. Later on, it increased towards the natural equilibrium for Austro-German music and language before the rhythms of French music finally diverged into two separate stylistic schools of composition.

Inside the Rise & Fall Of A 1970s Upper West Side Cult: Gothamist

After the raid, the pillagers returned to their seven-story co-op at 2643 Broadway. “We were prepared for them to invade,” says Paul Sprecher, a member of the Sullivan Institute for over a decade. “We had security down at the front door to make sure they would be duly chastised. I don’t remember, I think one guy showed up to complain and he was manhandled.” (According to a 1989 New York Magazine article, the complaining tenant was “beaten by more than a dozen members,” one of whom “broke four knuckles punching the young boy in the face.”) The paint splatter that started the ordeal is still visible today, on the brick wall just above the Metro Diner on 100th and Broadway. It is perhaps the last physical reminder of a psychotherapy cult—informally known as the “Sullivanians”—that once had 500 members living in three buildings on the Upper West Side.

Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005

“Grab them by the p---y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.” […]“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course - not even close,” Trump said in a statement. “I apologize if anyone was offended.”
As Garrard explains, a patient’s vocabulary becomes restricted, and they use fewer words that are specific labels and more words that are general labels. For example, it’s not incorrect to call a golden retriever an “animal,” though it is less accurate than calling it a retriever or even a dog. Alzheimer’s patients would be far more likely to call a retriever a “dog” or an “animal” than “retriever” or “Fred.” In addition, Garrard adds, the words Alzheimer’s patients lose tend to appear less frequently in everyday English than words they keep—an abstract noun like “metamorphosis” might be replaced by “change” or “go.”

Street for Cyclists May Be Solution as NYC Faces Subway Shutdown - Bloomberg Politics

New York is building 18 miles of protected lanes this year, yet officials don’t want to promise more than 10 per year because street changes can have unanticipated consequences, Russo said.  The most radical alteration would be to close 14th Street to create more mobility for the hundreds of thousands of people who would otherwise be traveling beneath it. The idea of such a transitway reserved for buses, cyclists and pedestrians was first proposed by the Regional Plan Association, an influential policy study group that in 1929 advocated a northern Manhattan site for the Hudson River span now known as the George Washington Bridge. The proposal would open the street overnight to allow truck deliveries.  Keep up with the race of a lifetime. Get our politics newsletter daily. Sign Up Much of the infrastructure to support it has already been installed. The East River bridges into Lower Manhattan now handle an average of more than 15,000 bikers a day in warm-weather months, up from about 6,600 a decade ago, according to the DOT. The de Blasio administration intends to build protected lanes from the Williamsburg Bridge, the most heavily bike-traveled, to Delancey Street on the Lower East Side, which could connect via a north-