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The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2013 at 12:37:30 PM EST
How Corn Syrup Might Be Making Us Hungry-and Fat | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

Grocery store aisles are awash in foods and beverages that contain high-fructose corn syrup. It is common in sodas and crops up in everything from ketchup to snack bars. This cheap sweetener has been an increasingly popular additive in recent decades and has often been fingered as a driver of the obesity epidemic.

These fears may be well founded. Fructose, a new study finds, has a marked affect on the brain region that regulates appetite, suggesting that corn syrup and other forms of fructose might encourage over-eating to a greater degree than glucose. Table sugar has both fructose and glucose, but high-fructose corn syrup, as the name suggests, contains a higher proportion of fructose.

To test how fructose affects the brain, researchers studied 20 healthy adult volunteers. While the test subjects consumed sweetened beverages, the researchers used fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure the response of the hypothalamus, which helps regulate many hunger-related signals, as well as reward and motivation processing.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2013 at 03:23:01 PM EST
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First Meteor Shower of 2013 Peaks This Week: Scientific American

he first meteor shower of 2013 will kick off the year's night sky events this week, giving stargazers a chance to ring in the New Year with a celestial fireworks display.

The Quadrantid meteor shower is an annual meteor shower every January. While this year's "shooting star" show is not expected to outshine some of the more spectacular meteor showers of 2012, it may give stargazers with clear, dark skies a great start to the New Year.

"Those who brave the cold might see up to 40 meteors per hour, although moonlight will make faint meteors harder to spot," officials with the Hubble Space Telescope explained in a January skywatching video guide.

The waning gibbous moon will be out in full force during the shower's peak, but skywatchers in dark areas of the Northern Hemisphere during the wee hours of Thursday morning might still get a decent show.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2013 at 03:23:12 PM EST
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Language learning begins in utero, study finds; Newborn memories of oohs and ahs heard in the womb

Jan. 2, 2013 -- Newborns are much more attuned to the sounds of their native language than first thought. In fact, these linguistic whizzes can up pick on distinctive sounds of their mother tongue while in utero, a new study has concluded.

Research led by Christine Moon, a professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University, shows that infants, only hours old showed marked interest for the vowels of a language that was not their mother tongue.

"We have known for over 30 years that we begin learning prenatally about voices by listening to the sound of our mother talking," Moon said. "This is the first study that shows we learn about the particular speech sounds of our mother's language before we are born." 

Before the study, the general consensus was that infants learned about the small parts of speech, the vowels and the consonants, postnatally. Moon added. "This study moves the measurable result of experience with individual speech sounds from six months of age to before birth," she said. The findings will be published in Acta Paediatrica in late December.

For the study Moon tested newborn infants shortly after birth while still in the hospital in two different locations: Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., and in the Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital in Stockholm. Infants heard either Swedish or English vowels and they could control how many times they heard the vowels by sucking on a pacifier connected to a computer.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2013 at 03:23:30 PM EST
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I read most of Ulysses to my first-born, before her birth (in theory I was reading to her mother, but she was asleep most of the time)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 04:59:59 AM EST
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"Before born babe bliss had. Within womb won he worship... Images divine and human, the cogitation of which by sejunct females is to tumescence conducive or eases issue in the high sun bright wellbuilt fair home of mothers when, ostensibly far gone and reproductitive, it is come by her thereto to lie in, her term up."

Ulysses, p. 384, Modern Library 1961

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 07:32:34 AM EST
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New Insights on Marijuana in Israel, Where It's Illegal - NYTimes.com

In the United States, medical marijuana programs exist in 18 states but remain illegal under federal law. In Israel, the law defines marijuana as an illegal and dangerous drug, and there is still no legislation regulating its use for medicinal purposes.

Yet Israel's Ministry of Health issues special licenses that allow thousands of patients to receive medical marijuana, and some government officials are now promoting the country's advances in the field as an example of its pioneering and innovation.

"I hope we will overcome the legal obstacles for Tikkun Olam and other companies," Yuli Edelstein, the minister of public diplomacy and diaspora affairs, told journalists during a recent government-sponsored tour of the farm, part of Israel's effort to brand itself as something beyond a conflict zone. In addition to helping the sick, he said, the effort "could be helpful for explaining what we are about in this country."

Israelis have been at the vanguard of research into the medicinal properties of cannabis for decades.

In the 1960s, Prof. Raphael Mechoulam and his colleague Yechiel Gaoni at the Weizmann Institute of Science isolated, analyzed and synthesized the main psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Later, Professor Mechoulam deciphered the cannabinoids native to the brain. Ruth Gallily, a professor emerita of immunology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has studied another main constituent of cannabis -- cannabidiol, or CBD -- considered a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety agent.

When Zach Klein, a former filmmaker, made a documentary on medical marijuana that was broadcast on Israeli television in 2009, about 400 Israelis were licensed to receive the substance. Today, the number has risen to about 11,000.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2013 at 09:14:06 PM EST
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Big Data Is Great, but Don't Forget Intuition - NYTimes.com

The quest to draw useful insights from business measurements is nothing new. Big Data is a descendant of Frederick Winslow Taylor's "scientific management" of more than a century ago. Taylor's instrument of measurement was the stopwatch, timing and monitoring a worker's every movement. Taylor and his acolytes used these time-and-motion studies to redesign work for maximum efficiency. The excesses of this approach would become satirical grist for Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times." The enthusiasm for quantitative methods has waxed and waned ever since.

Big Data proponents point to the Internet for examples of triumphant data businesses, notably Google. But many of the Big Data techniques of math modeling, predictive algorithms and artificial intelligence software were first widely applied on Wall Street.

At the M.I.T. conference, a panel was asked to cite examples of big failures in Big Data. No one could really think of any. Soon after, though, Roberto Rigobon could barely contain himself as he took to the stage. Mr. Rigobon, a professor at M.I.T.'s Sloan School of Management, said that the financial crisis certainly humbled the data hounds. "Hedge funds failed all over the world," he said.

The problem is that a math model, like a metaphor, is a simplification. This type of modeling came out of the sciences, where the behavior of particles in a fluid, for example, is predictable according to the laws of physics.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2013 at 09:36:11 PM EST
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... the behavior of particles in a fluid, for example, is predictable according to the laws of physics.

In what Universe?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 12:53:38 PM EST
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McGarr Solicitors: 2012: The year Irish newspapers tried to destroy the web (DECEMBER 30, 2012)
I have started with that clarification, because as you read this you will find yourself asking "Is this some kind of a joke?" I thought I would be helpful and put the answer right up at the start, so you can refer back to it as often as you require.


They were quite clear in their demands. They told Women's Aid "a licence is required to link directly to an online article even without uploading any of the content directly onto your own website."

Recap: The Newspapers' agent demanded an annual payment from a women's domestic violence charity because they said they owned copyright in a link to the newspapers' public website.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 03:42:06 AM EST
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Well, don't let's link to

Irish Independent
Irish Examiner
The Irish Times
Irish Daily Star
Evening Herald
The Sunday Independent
Sunday World
The Sunday Business Post
Irish Mail on Sunday
Irish Farmers Journal
Irish Daily Mail
Irish Daily Mirror
Irish Sun
Irish Sunday Mirror
The Sunday Times
Irish Sun Sunday

I wonder if we have to pay for mentioning their august titles?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 04:01:52 AM EST
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Do we need a [National Newspapers of Ireland© Alert] ?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 04:08:45 AM EST
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The Wolf Is Waiting - The Morning News

Throughout my life I had tried the traditional therapies: behavioral cognitive counseling, mainstream psychiatrics, and psychotherapy. I tried hypnosis, progressive relaxation, Jungian psychology and dream interpretation, and the practice of affirmations. I tried supplements of flaxseed oil, fish oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil, vitamins B6, B12, C. I let homeopathic doses of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous melt between my inner lip and gum, dropped herbal extracts of motherwort, passion flower, skullcap, wild oat, valerian, ashwaganda, lemon balm, and chamomile under my tongue. I mixed flower essences of violet, sweet chestnut, oak, elm, rock rose, mimulus, willow, and cherry plum into my water. I tried a vegan diet and a raw-food diet and a macrobiotic diet and an ayurvedic diet and a three-season diet and a sugar-free diet. I worked with shamans, herbalists, rolfers, hypnotists, chiropractors, astrologers, intuitives, Chinese energetics practitioners, Reiki healers, acupuncturists, and myofascial-release massage therapists. I studied ecopsychology to understand how the degradation of the Earth and the spoiling of our natural resources impacts our psyches. I sat in forests of logged trees and wailed. I sat alone three days in the desert without food, trying to grasp the root of my problem. I sweated for hours in sweat lodges, covering myself in mud in the pitch-black, airtight heat while men chanted and banged on drums and burned sage, and I emerged to feel wet and new under clear, deep-night skies. I sat several weeklong silent meditation retreats watching tree limbs breathe and the sun travel its daily arcs overhead. I lived on biodynamic farms and organic farms in the mountains of Arizona and the deserts of New Mexico and the forests of California and the hills of the Berkshires to heal any rift between my body and the rest of the natural world. I lived on yoga ashrams. I lived at retreat centers where people come to learn to be the most empowered and happy people they can be. I hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail and climbed down to the flat bottom of the Grand Canyon to listen to wind and rivers. I slept alone in the Superstition Wilderness. I lived in New York City and fed off intellectual stimulation and sex and sushi. I lived in Boston and did nothing but write and read as a way to channel my discomfort. I studied astrology, numerology, the Enneagram, and the Tarot deck to understand what basic influences are contributing to my problem. I experimented with celibacy. I rubbed sesame oil on my body after every shower. I anointed my head with sacred Indian Brahmi oil for protection. I spent days eating nothing but bananas and vanilla yogurt, flavors that are shown to have a calming affect on babies. I carried quartz and amethyst in my pockets for their reputed peace-inducing qualities and wore moonstone rings for serenity and turquoise rings for understanding and aventurine necklaces for bravery. I tried doing nothing and just seeing if my condition would improve on its own. I listened to meditation CDs before going to bed and meditation CDs before getting out of bed. I practiced yoga and tai chi and tapping on meridian points for emotional balance and release. I soaked in hot baths infused with sage and rose and lavender and pine. All of these things have helped. And still.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 06:28:38 AM EST
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Powerful reading. Thanks.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 07:48:38 AM EST
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What to Expect When You're Electing - The Morning News

Because you've gotten the calls, you already knew that Obama's fundraising machine hits people up more than once. The campaign's fundraising is built to do this. In the eyes of the machine, if you give $50, you're still $150 under the public disclosure limit, and even if you hit $200, you're well under the individual-giving maximum of $2500. Not that Obama uses public matching funds--he opted out in 2008 and again in 2012.

Also, history is on the side of the Obama money vacuum. In 2008 slightly more than half of Obama's donors who gave an aggregate of $200 or more started out giving amounts less than $200. In other words, the Obama fundraisers were able to up-sell a substantial percentage of givers. Overall, the repeat donors were lucrative, giving $100 million to Obama in 2008. The campaign makes it easy, allowing you to save your credit card information at barackobama.com. Just like shoppers do at their favorite online retailer.

Yet there's a bigger reason why Favorite Candidate keeps calling: Fundraising has become a form of stealth get-out-the-vote strategy. Not because they use your donations to buy pizzas for dopey students, but because donating gives you a stake in a candidate's outcome. A joint paper produced by CFI, the Brookings Institution, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) that eyed the future of publicly financed campaigns in the age of the Internet small donor put donating-as-political-seed this way: "The evidence seems to suggest that giving and doing are reciprocal activities: volunteering stimulates giving, while giving small amounts seems to heighten nonfinancial forms of participation by people who feel more invested in the process."

"It's really a commonly accepted community organizing device," Michael Malbin told me. As a grad student in Chicago, he went to see radical organizer Saul Alinsky, who talked about getting poor people to sign up for 25 or 50 cents (about three bucks today). "The big deal isn't how much the money means to the organization but what it does to the person," Malbin remembered Alinsky saying. Malbin said he's seen only the Obama campaign build an integrated money mobilizing machine on these precepts. Romney hasn't done it and Congressional campaigns haven't done it, and it's probably rare state-wide elections.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 06:56:12 AM EST
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