Fluoridation May Not Prevent Cavities, Scientific Review Shows

Bart (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Bart (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A new review by the Cochrane Collaboration calls into question the benefits of water fluoridation.

Douglas Main via Newsweek:

Water fluoridation, which first began in 1945 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and expanded nationwide over the years, has always been controversial. Those opposed to the process have argued—and a growing number of studies have suggested—that the chemical may present a number of health risks, for example interfering with the endocrine system and increasing the risk ofimpaired brain function; two studies in the last few months, for example, have linked fluoridation to ADHD and underactive thyroid. Others argue against water fluoridation on ethical grounds, saying the process forces people to consume a substance they may not know is there—or that they’d rather avoid.

Despite concerns about safety and ethics, many are content to continue fluoridation because of its purported benefit: that it reduces tooth decay.

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Is This Why Old Blue Eyes Liked A Drink?

A new study suggests that people with blue eyes are more prone to alcoholism than those with darker eyes, reports Yahoo Health:

Is it mere coincidence, or do people with blue eyes really run a higher risk of being alcoholics? A new study out of the University of Vermont suggests that the link not only exists, but it appears to be a genetic one.

Blue eye.svg

Blue eye by alex_fernandez (CC)

 

Reporting in the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, the researchers find that among European-Americans, those with light-colored eyes — described as ones that are green, gray, and brown in the center — have higher rates of alcohol dependency than Euro-Americans with dark brown eyes; that link is strongest in blue-eyed people.

“We still don’t know the reason,” researcher Dawei Li says in a University of Vermont press release, but they do know that the very genes that determine eye color are situated along the same chromosome as genes that are known to be linked to alcohol dependency…

[continues at Yahoo Health]

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Czech Artist Installs Surveillance Cameras in Public Places

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via Ignant:

Czech artist Jakub Geltner installs sculptures of surveillance cameras into public spaces. As an “intervention into the very character of a city”, he’s been working on the ‘Nest’ project since 2011. Living and working in Prague, he created his first installation directly in the center of the city, perfectly assimilating into the surrounding architecture and design of the contemporary urban landscape.

Read more about “Nest” here.

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The value of unplugging in the Age of Distraction

Small device, but very demanding. aciej_ie/flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Small device, but very demanding. aciej_ie/flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

A common experience: you are walking down the street and someone is walking in the opposite direction toward you. You see him but he does not see you. He is texting or looking at his cellphone. He is distracted, trying to do two things at the same time, walking and communicating.

There is also the telltale recognition of a car driver on a phone; she’s driving either too slowly or too fast for the surrounding conditions, only partly connected to what is going on around her. Connected to someone else in another place, she is not present in the here and now.

These types of occurrences are now common enough that we can label our time as the age of distraction.

A dangerous condition

The age of distraction is dangerous. A recent report by the National Safety Council showed that walking while texting increases the risk of accidents.… Read the rest

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Poverty and Mental Health: A Chart

There appears to be a connection between poverty and mental health problems. According to Dylan Matthews at Vox:

But the reality is that poor Americans are much more likely to face mental health problems than rich ones. This chart, put together by the Huffington Post’s Jonathan Cohn and Cameron Love using data from a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, shows that 8.7 percent of people living in poverty exhibited signs of “serious psychological distress” when polled from 2009 to 2013. But only 1.2 percent of people with incomes of four times the federal poverty level or higher did:

huffpo_mental_illness

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You Have to Be Conscious to Deny Consciousness, and Other Conundrums

Leonhard_Euler_2

via Evolution News:

Would you have a rational discussion with a zombie? Materialists are forced into the position of discussing philosophy and science with the walking dead, since under their terms we are all that. Unless rationality is a mindful concept — unless we are more than atoms in motion — that’s the logical result of denying mind and intelligence.

To deny that we are mindful creatures, the materialist also has to deny the existence of any realm of abstract concepts that a mind can access. Yet materialism itself is an abstract concept.

This seems intuitively obvious, but it’s amazing how often materialists ignore the self-refuting nature of their assumptions. Nancy Pearcey wrote about this a few months ago, noting ways in which materialist claims commit the self-referential absurdity: “Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.”

A recent example is a new theory of consciousness from Ezequiel Morsella, a psychology professor at San Franciso State University.

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Music, Aesthetics & Making Sense: A Conversation with Andrew Bowie

Bowie Header Adorno

This post originally appeared on four by three magazine.

What is music? Can music make sense of the world or even transcend it? Philosopher and jazz musician Andrew Bowie talks to four by three about the connection between music, aesthetics, language, and time, with reference to Adorno and Heidegger, as well as about the relationship between philosophy, the arts and sciences, asking: why does art matter?


‘Art is supposed to engage your whole being and not just your conceptual capacity’
— Andrew Bowie

four by three: The philosophy and philosophical significance of music has been a major preoccupation of much of your writing. What is it that motivates you to write philosophically about music?

Andrew Bowie: When I started doing philosophy, I used to regard my playing as completely separate from my philosophy, because I wasn’t very good at playing in any case [I still am not great, but I have got better].… Read the rest

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California, Camelot and Vaccines

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni takes on Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Jim Carrey in the great California vaccine debate:

If you had told me a while back that I’d someday dread, dodge and elect not to return phone calls from a prominent member of the Kennedy dynasty, I would have said you were nuts.

Then Robert Kennedy Jr. started reaching out.

Robert Kennedy Jr. Photo: Daniel Schwen (CC)

Robert Kennedy Jr. Photo: Daniel Schwen (CC)

Not just reaching out, mind you, but volunteering to educate me. To illuminate me. That was his tone of voice, somewhat pitying and vaguely patronizing, the one time we talked at length, after he’d left messages and before he left more.

It was important, he said, that we meet.

If we did, he said, he could correct me.

My error?

I had disparaged the alarmists who claim a connection between vaccines and autism and fill parents with needless fears about immunizing their children.

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