Author Archive | Good German

Do Gut Bacteria Rule Our Minds? In an Ecosystem within Us, Microbes Evolved to Sway Food Choices

This image illustrates the relationship between gut bacteria and unhealthy eating. Credit: Courtesy of UC San Francisco

This image illustrates the relationship between gut bacteria and unhealthy eating. Credit: Courtesy of UC San Francisco

via ScienceDaily:

It sounds like science fiction, but it seems that bacteria within us — which outnumber our own cells about 100-fold — may very well be affecting both our cravings and moods to get us to eat what they want, and often are driving us toward obesity.

In an article published this week in the journal BioEssays, researchers from UC San Francisco, Arizona State University and University of New Mexico concluded from a review of the recent scientific literature that microbes influence human eating behavior and dietary choices to favor consumption of the particular nutrients they grow best on, rather than simply passively living off whatever nutrients we choose to send their way.

Bacterial species vary in the nutrients they need. Some prefer fat, and others sugar, for instance. But they not only vie with each other for food and to retain a niche within their ecosystem — our digestive tracts — they also often have different aims than we do when it comes to our own actions, according to senior author Athena Aktipis, PhD, co-founder of the Center for Evolution and Cancer with the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF.

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Neuroscientists Watch Imagination Happening in the Brain

Elements - Imagination by Hartwig HKD via Flickr.

“Elements – Imagination” by Hartwig HKD via Flickr.

Via ScienceDaily:

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one,” sang John Lennon in his 1971 song Imagine. And thanks to the dreams of a BYU student, we now know more about where and how imagination happens in our brains.

Stefania Ashby and her faculty mentor devised experiments using MRI technology that would help them distinguish pure imagination from related processes like remembering.

“I was thinking a lot about planning for my own future and imagining myself in the future, and I started wondering how memory and imagination work together,” Ashby said. “I wondered if they were separate or if imagination is just taking past memories and combining them in different ways to form something I’ve never experienced before.”

There’s a bit of scientific debate over whether memory and imagination truly are distinct processes. So Ashby and her faculty mentor devised MRI experiments to put it to the test.

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7 Important Details Nobody Mentions About Ferguson

Ferguson protests, 15 August 2014 by Loavesofbread via Wikimedia Commons.

Ferguson protests, 15 August 2014 by Loavesofbread via Wikimedia Commons.

How pathetic is it when Cracked is more informative in an article replete with fart videos than CNN, Fox, and MSNBC put together?  Cody Johnston writes:

On August 9, 2014, an unarmed black youth named Michael Brown was killed by a white police officer named Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, after some kind of physical altercation between the two. Several eyewitnesses claim that Brown put his hands above his head in surrender and pleaded with Wilson to not shoot him, which Wilson did. This event led to protests in the streets, and things got worse from there. It became a convoluted mess of misinformation, no information, and some actual information, so here is every important truth and lie that you need to know to understand the situation. Due to the sensitive, controversial, and racial nature of this series of events, and how it’s being retold by a white man-child on a comedy website, I will be using several farts from butts to explain everything to you.

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The Double Identity of an “Anti-Semitic” Commenter: Smearing a Progressive Website to Support Israel

By Bifalcucci via Wikimedia Commons.

By Bifalcucci via Wikimedia Commons.

Something to think about the next time you see a racist comment here at Disinfo.  And you will probably see one soon.

Lance Tapley writes at Common Dreams:

Like many other news websites, Common Dreams has been plagued by inflammatory anti-Semitic comments following its stories. But on Common Dreams these posts have been so frequent and intense they have driven away donors from a nonprofit dependent on reader generosity.

A Common Dreams investigation has discovered that more than a thousand of these damaging comments over the past two years were written with a deceptive purpose by a Jewish Harvard graduate in his thirties who was irritated by the website’s discussion of issues involving Israel.

His intricate campaign, which he has admitted to Common Dreams, included posting comments by a screen name, “JewishProgressive,” whose purpose was to draw attention to and denounce the anti-Semitic comments that he had written under many other screen names.

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Robin Williams, Mental Health, and Social Insanity

A make-shift fan tribute to Robin Williams at the steps of the San Fransicso house used for Mrs. Doubtfire, taken on August 13, 2014. By rulenumberone2 via Wikimedia Commons

A make-shift fan tribute to Robin Williams at the steps of the San Fransicso house used for Mrs. Doubtfire, taken on August 13, 2014. By rulenumberone2 via Wikimedia Commons.

Michael K. Smith writes at CounterPunch:

“We are made miserable . . . not just by the strength of our beliefs, but by the weight of hard and all-too real situations, as they bear downward, robbing us of control . . . unhappiness treated by clinicians has much more to do with the sufferer’s situation than with anything about themselves, and for those with few privileges, this unhappiness is pretty well beyond the reach of therapeutic or any other conversation.”

– Paul Moloney “The Therapy Industry”

Robin Williams’s body was scarcely cold when liberal commentators began using the tragedy of his death as publicity for suicide hotlines and professional mental health intervention in general.  He had long-standing depression, we were told, and his “mental illness” was manifest in his decision to take his own life.

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Ferguson: The Violence of the State Created the Violence of the Street

403px-Martin_Luther_King_press_conference_01269u_editWhere’s Cliven Bundy’s posse when you need them?

Gary Younge writes at the Guardian:

In 1966, Martin Luther King started to campaign against segregation in Chicago only to find his efforts thwarted by violent mobs and a scheming mayor. Marginalised by the city’s establishment, he could feel that non-violence both as a strategy and as a principle was eroding among his supporters. “I need some help in getting this method across,” he said. “A lot of people have lost faith in the establishment … They’ve lost faith in the democratic process. They’ve lost faith in non-violence … [T]hose who make this peaceful revolution impossible will make a violent revolution inevitable, and we’ve got to get this over, I need help. I need some victories, I need concessions.”

He never got them. The next year there were more than 150 riots across the country, from Minneapolis to Tampa.

As the situation escalates in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, where police recently shot an unarmed black man as he walked down the street, many are clearly losing faith.

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Scientists Introduce New Cosmic Connectivity: Quantum Pigeonhole Paradox

Feral Rock Dove. By Alan D. Wilson, www.naturespicsonline.com via Wikimedia Commons

Feral Rock Dove. By Alan D. Wilson, www.naturespicsonline.com via Wikimedia Commons

Might Quantum Pigeons be precognitive?

Via ScienceDaily:

Recently physicists at Chapman University’s Institute for Quantum Studies introduced the Quantum Cheshire Cat. Now they have introduced another quantum animal: the Quantum Pigeon.

In the 20th century, two revolutions in physics shook the world. One of them was relativity, discovered by Einstein. It revealed that spacetime is not what we experience in everyday life. For example, if you travel close to the speed of light, then you will age more slowly than somebody who stays on Earth.

The second revolution was quantum theory, the microscopic theory of particles, such as electrons, atoms, or photons. Quantum theory showed that nature is not deterministic. After a century of careful testing, most physicists believe that the “chanciness” or “capriciousness” of the microscopic world is fundamental.

One of the most exotic aspects of nature is quantum non-locality which was first discovered more than four decades ago.

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‘Gas the Jews!’: European Anti-Semitism During the Gaza Crisis

Isn’t this the kind of bullshit that fertilized Israel’s birth in the first place?

Protest against the Israeli attack on the Palestinians of Gaza held at the State Library 4 January 2009. Taken on January 4, 2009. Photo by Takver via Flickr.

Protest against the Israeli attack on the Palestinians of Gaza held at the State Library 4 January 2009. Taken on January 4, 2009. Photo by Takver via Flickr.

 

Zack Beauchamp writes at Vox:

Since the outbreak of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, there’s been a wave of street-level demonstrations rallying against the war. These protestors are generally highly critical of Israel and blame it for the current round of violence, but the vast majority want an end to the violence and are demanding it peacefully.

But the peaceful demonstrators are not alone in turning out to the streets over the Israel-Gaza conflict. A small-but-disturbing fraction of the international anger over the war has escalated into outright anti-Semitism: shouting “gas the Jews!” during protests in Germany, attacking synagogues in France, and beating a rabbi in Morocco.

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Top PR Companies Rule out Working with Climate Change Deniers

Not all of them, of course.

Satellite image of w:ship tracks, clouds created by the exhaust of ship smokestacks. NASA, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Satellite image of w:ship tracks, clouds created by the exhaust of ship smokestacks. NASA, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

 

Suzanne Goldenberg and Nishad Karim write at the Guardian:

Ten firms say they will not represent clients that deny man-made climate change or seek to block emisson-reducing regulations.

Some of the world’s top PR companies have for the first time publicly ruled out working with climate change deniers, marking a fundamental shift in the multi-billion dollar industry that has grown up around the issue of global warming.

Public relations firms have played a critical role over the years in framing the debate on climate change and its solutions – as well as the extensive disinformation campaigns launched to block those initiatives.

Now a number of the top 25 global PR firms have told the Guardian they will not represent clients who deny man-made climate change, or take campaigns seeking to block regulations limiting carbon pollution.

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