July 20, 2016
Things I thought everyone knew
Reading helps us develop empathy. Reading a novel can help us understand other people's points of view
Keith Oatley, a Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development in Canada, has conducted experiments on the effects of reading fiction.
‘Almost all human cultures create stories that, until now, have been rather dismissively called “entertainment....I think there is also something more important going on....Fiction can augment and help us understand our social experience....Narratives can even generate empathy for a race or culture that is dissimilar to one’s own.
‘What’s a piece of fiction, what’s a novel, what’s short story, what’s a play or movie or television series? It’s a piece of consciousness being passed from mind to mind.
Milk is the best drink to rehydrate and milk is the best way to soothe the pain of too-hot peppers Holy cow! Researchers find drinking milk really does work best to extinguish the pain of a a red hot chili pepper
Experts say water and alcoholic drinks will only make the pain worse. 'Capsaicin is the chemical compound found in chile peppers that makes them taste hot,' said Paul Bosland, an NMSU Regents Professor and director of the Chile Pepper Institute. 'It turns out that milk has a protein in it that replaces the capsaicin on the receptors on your tongue. It's really the quickest way to alleviate the burning feeling.'
Human beings resist being told what to do. Compulsory diversity training appears to actually do more harm than good reports the Washington Post about a study from the Harvard Business School. Women and minorities worst hit.
"If someone is supposed to sit there, psychologically they will be grumpy," she said. "They will not want to engage. This is what we do as human beings -- we resist control."
The authors point to a range of past social science studies that have shown that efforts to reduce prejudice can backfire -- actually increasing bias or leading to more hostility rather than less.
July 17, 2016
14 Canadian wolves brought into Yellowstone National Park transformed a whole ecosystem… for the good!
The effects in the park were deeper, better and more striking than expected. The whole ecosystem was transformed. Even the course of the rivers changed! How could wolves provoke such incredible changes in nature? Watch the clip and marvel.
The Hippo isn't a re-invention of the wheel, simply a way to use the rolling motion to help people transport drinking water home far easier and in much larger quantities.
Before the Hippo started changing lives people could only carry about 20 liters of water home at a time, in a bucket carried on their head no less, but the Hippo allows them to roll 90 liters home easily and quickly.
You can’t copy money on any printer because of the Eurion Constellation - It's the secret anti-counterfeit symbol.
The name was terrible, but the “K Disease” was not a lethal virus. It was actually the clever invention of Professor Giovanni Borromeo and a religious of the Hospital of the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God, to save the lives of dozens of Jews persecuted by the Nazis during World War II.
When the SS entered the Fatebenefratelli hospital located on the Tiber Island in Rome, medical personnel and religious explained to the Germans that behind the doors of two special wards, there were patients suffering from this terrible K Disease, some of whom were terminally ill. The officers did not dare to enter the wards. Had they done so, they would have met with Jewish families, men in one room, women and children in another.
In recognition of this singular feat of creativity and courage, on Tuesday the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation bestowed upon the hospital — one of the oldest and most renowned facilities in the Eternal City — the prestigious recognition of “House of Life.”
England vs Great Britain vs United Kingdom Explained. Brilliant Venn diagram
The first actual water closet resembling today's toilet was created for Queen Elizabeth I. It was created by her godson, Sir John Harington, in 1596. Although his creation was rejected by the public at large, it is Sir John Harington we honor every time we say we have to go to "the john.”
Kay and Joe O'Regan are 80 years old and in fantastic condition--as is their marriage. Their time in the race was 5 hours and 23 minutes. Their time in marriage has been 57 joyful years. The Today show reports:
With the finish line in sight a half mile away, Joe grabbed Kay's hand and together they completed the race, clocking in at 5 hours and 23 minutes and making them both come in first for their age group. It may be hard to believe, but these fit octogenarians didn't get into running until the age of 49. They have their son, Sintan, now 56, to thank for that. They were living in London at the time when he complained to his parents about having to train for rugby in the rain.
"I said to him, 'You can't let a little rain stop you,' and he dared me to go out and run around the neighborhood in the rain with him," Kay told TODAY. "And here we are 30 years later still running."
A photographer known only as Paul had snapped pictures of American life during the 1950s--fully 1,200 rolls of pictures. Then he wrapped the rolls in tin foil and athletic tape, then labelled these packages with photographic details, such as light modifiers and the cameras used. These packages were placed in cigar boxes, which were in turn packed carefully inside more tape, foil, and newspaper.
The mysterious Paul created a time capsule, then disappeared. Levi Bettwieser is now slowly and carefully excavating the find. He calls his efforts the Rescued Film Project.
In the early to mid twentieth century, the majority of the city’s libraries had live-in superintendents. Like the superintendents who still live in many of the city’s residential buildings, these caretakers both worked and lived in the buildings for which they were responsible. This meant that for decades, behind the stacks, meals were cooked, baths and showers were taken, and bedtime stories were read. And yes, families living in the city’s libraries typically did have access to the stacks at night—an added bonus if they happened to need a new bedtime book after hours.
Unfortunately, the days of live-in superintendents at libraries appear to be over. The last known live-in superintendent moved out of the NYPL’s Webster Branch, located at 1468 York Avenue in Yorkville, in 2006. ...
If the opportunity to work and live in a library still existed today, qualifications for prospective live-in superintendents would likely include everything from a great command of English to the ability to supervise staff to a general knowledge of electrical, plumbing, HVAC and carpentry repair. Many current live-in superintendent positions also require applicants to have a high-level of computer skills and experience working with one or more building management software programs. Finally, anyone interested in taking on the role of live-in superintendent needs to be committed to working around the clock and working year-round.
SODASTREAM launches new Beer Bar accessory that transforms tap water into an instant home-crafted brew. Not available yet in the U.S.
July 15, 2016
Health Roundup Alzheimer's
An active compound in marijuana called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been found to promote the removal of toxic clumps of amyloid beta protein in the brain, which are thought to kickstart the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The finding supports the results of previous studies that found evidence of the protective effects of cannabinoids, including THC, on patients with neurodegenerative disease.
David Schubert from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California and his colleagues tested the effects of THC on human neurons grown in the lab that mimic the effects of Alzheimer's disease. He said, "Although other studies have offered evidence that cannabinoids might be neuro-protective against the symptoms of Alzheimer's, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate that cannabinoids affect both inflammation and amyloid beta accumulation in nerve cells."
A landmark study has identified the first physiological sign of late-onset Alzheimer's. Contrary to previous understanding, brain scans show a decrease in blood flow through the brain is the earliest indicator that a patient has the disease. An increase in amyloid protein was thought to be the number one sign. But while amyloid plays a role, experts at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital have determined that blood flow decreases first in the most thorough study ever published on Alzheimer's. They also found that changes in cognition begin earlier than previously thought.
The new research was a collaboration between the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the UCLA Easton Laboratories for Neurodegenerative Disease Research. A study of 10 patients found they all showed memory improvements; all have since been able to return to their jobs or continue working.
Study leader Dr Dale Bredesen hopes it could pave the way for the first effective treatment for the disease since it was first described more than 100 years ago. He said his approach is personalized, tailored to each individual patient - and is based on extensive testing to help determine the best therapies for each patient's brain.
'Imagine having a roof with 36 holes in it, and your drug patched one hole very well,' he said. 'The drug may have worked, and a single hole may have been fixed, but you still have 35 other leaks, and so the underlying process may not be affected much.' He went on: 'All of these patients had either well-defined mild cognitive impairment (MCI), subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) or had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's before beginning the regimen. 'But follow up testing showed some of the patients going from abnormal to normal.'
A vaccine which protects against dementia could be available within five years. Scientists believe they have made a breakthrough development which could stop Alzheimer’s disease in its tracks when given to people diagnosed in the early stages. They hope it will allow patients to carry on their lives much as normal while the progression of the condition is delayed by years – and perhaps for good.
As a preventative measure, the drug could even be given like a flu jab to over-50s or at risk groups. Experts believe delaying the development of Alzheimer’s by just five years could halve the number of people dying with the condition. The vaccine formula, worked on by researchers in the US and Australia, is the first to target both the protein believed to trigger Alzheimer’s and one which causes it to worsen. These proteins tend to become misshapen and group together to form ‘clumps’ in the brain.
The vaccine is designed to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies which dissolve the clumps, latch on to the proteins and take them out of the brain and into the blood stream, where they can be broken down. Researchers said the formula is boosted by a ‘turbo charger’ which makes it between 100 and 1,000 times more effective than previously tested vaccines. Their work showed the vaccine was successful on mice. It will now be tested in humans in the US and, if trials go well, it could be available in five to six years.
Health roundup: Statins and high cholesterol, butter, salmon and pecans, dill and parsley and milk
Cholesterol does not cause heart disease in the elderly and trying to reduce it with drugs like statins is a waste of time, an international group of experts has claimed. A review of research involving nearly 70,000 people found there was no link between what has traditionally been considered “bad” cholesterol and the premature deaths of over 60-year-olds from cardiovascular disease. Published in the BMJ Open journal, the new study found that 92 percent of people with a high cholesterol level lived longer.
Vascular and endovascular surgery expert Professor Sherif Sultan from the University of Ireland, who also worked on the study, said cholesterol is one of the “most vital” molecules in the body and prevents infection, cancer, muscle pain and other conditions in elderly people. “Lowering cholesterol with medications for primary cardiovascular prevention in those aged over 60 is a total waste of time and resources, whereas altering your lifestyle is the single most important way to achieve a good quality of life,” he said.
Eating one tablespoon of butter a day had little impact on overall mortality, had no significant link with cardiovascular disease and strokes and could even have a small effect in reducing the risk of diabetes.
In the latest research, scientists from Tufts University in Boston analyzed the results of nine studies published since 2005 from 15 countries, including the US, UK and Europe. Results were based on nearly 640,000 adults with an average age of between 44 and 71 years old, tracked over a combined total of 6.5 million years. In total, they studies included more than 28,000 deaths, nearly 10,000 cases of cardiovascular diseases and nearly 24,000 cases of diabetes.
Commenting on the research, cardiologist and National Obesity Forum advisor Dr Aseem Malhotra said: 'This high quality study clearly reveals that decades of demonizing butter has been a huge mistake. I follow the advice I give to my patients which is providing you cut the consumption of sugar and other refined carbohydrates the regular consumption of butter can be very much part of a healthy diet.'
Oily fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines have high levels of omega-3. Some nuts, seeds and oils contain high levels of plant-based equivalent. Using 19 studies from 16 countries and including 45,637 participants, they found plant-based and seafood-based omega-3s were associated with about a 10 per cent lower risk of fatal heart attacks.
Eaten together, the herbs formed a compound with anti-cancer properties. Parsley prevents bad breath and hair loss and boosts immunity and vision. Dill is said to combat disease causing free radicals and strengthen bones
Now new evidence suggests their cancer-fighting potential after Russian researchers obtained glaziovianin A from parsley and dill. The same chemical is currently harvested from the leaves of the Brazilian tree Ateleia glazioviana Baill and is an 'antimitotic' - meaning it inhibits the growth of tumors by disrupting the process of cell division or mitosis.
Most Americans have heard that they should drink eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated, but there is surprisingly little data to support this advice. But now, a new “beverage hydration index” provides evidence-based suggestions for how to most efficiently hydrate. The index was developed from a British study published in December that tracked how long 13 common beverages remain in the body after being consumed.
The results showed that four beverages — oral rehydration solution, like Pedialyte; fat-free milk; whole milk and orange juice — had a significantly higher hydration index than water. The first three had hydration index scores around 1.5, with orange juice doing slightly better than water at 1.1...
“It’s a very clever, even brilliant study,” said Lawrence Armstrong, a hydration expert at the University of Connecticut and immediate past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “It assumes that water is the optimal rehydration fluid, which is biologically correct, and then compares other fluids to water.”
Why is milk so efficient at rehydration? “Normally when you drink, it signals the kidneys to get rid of the extra water by producing more urine,” Dr. Maughan said. “However, when beverages contain nutrients and electrolytes like sodium and potassium, as milk does, the stomach empties more slowly with a less dramatic effect on the kidneys.”