Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Monday FTSidebar

Manipulating Memory | NIH Director's Blog

NIMH Director Dr. Insel blogs about two new reports that may be moving the study of memory into a brave new world, where we can not only monitor memory but manipulate it. On the one hand, manipulating memory can mean improving recall for people with dementia or relieving the symptoms of PTSD or depression. On the other hand, manipulating memory with neurotechnologies raises thorny ethical issues.

Happy Labor Day, Mom | William Greider | The Nation

I know this sounds absurd--it is absurd--but for some odd reason Labor Day reminds me of my mother. She was a school teacher, and I think she would have a good laugh to learn that so-called "education reformers" are accusing school teachers of being too powerful and protected. My father, who was himself a long-time member of our local school board, would probably snort at the ignorance of highly educated experts.

The Book That Got Teaching Right | Samuel G. Freedman | The New Yorker

In the course of a few decades, I became separated from my copy of "Up the Down Staircase," Bel Kaufman's classic novel about a New York City schoolteacher. So after Kaufman died, in July, at the age of a hundred and three, I felt compelled to reread the book.

Police Department Fires Cop Who Called Ferguson Protestors 'Rabid Dogs' | TPM

A St. Louis-area police department announced on Thursday it had fired on officer who posted offensive comments online about people protesting the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

Open bookKhalid Sheikh Mohammed's Army Lawyer Resigns, Alleges "Show Trial" | TalkLeft
Maj. Jason Wright, one of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's lawyers in his military commission trial, has resigned from the Army, which terminates his representation. In an interview, he says the U.S. is guilty of human rights violations and creating a "show trial."

Reconnecting With the Very American Ideal That Labor Rights Are Human Rights | John Nichols | The Nation

History remembers, as should we.

Happy faceFace-to-Face Conservation | NatGeo
"The phone calls always seem to be on a Sunday and 1000 kilometres (600 miles) away from here" Florian Weise tells me.

Let's hear it for citizen scientists! | Machines Like Us

Citizen science is booming in Australia, revealing previously unknown features of the continent and saving governments a ton of money.

Original here, easier reading above.

Open bookScience as Salvation? | Michael Saler | The Nation
Whether or not scientists are from Mars and humanists from Venus, the "two cultures" debate about the arts and sciences has never been down to earth. For decades we've endured schematic sparring between straw men: humanists claim that scientists are reductive, scientists find humanists reactionary.

2014 Clio short list

These are my favorites from the film medium.


Under one minute:

Volkswagen Side Assist Bathroom [humorous]

Diageo/Guinness Basketball [just watch it]

Netflix Canada Pep Talk [humorous]

Devondale Smoothies The Teacher [odd/humorous]

Uniball Pens Swapped at birth [odd/humorous]

Colgate Water Awareness Water [public service]

One to five minutes:

Guinness Sapeurs [longer documentary below, both so worth it]

Volkswagen Bus [just watch it]

Volkswagen Bus Kombi Last Wishes [nostalgia]

CNA Speaking Exchange [inspiring]

American Greetings The Toughest Job in the World [inspiring]

Apple Intention [beautifully done]

Over five minutes:

Guinness Sapeurs Documentary [wow]

Public Service

some poignant, some humorous, some in-your-face

Under one minute:

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Social Farter

Norwegian Public Roads Administration The Store [bike riders will love it]

One to five minutes:

WATERisLIFE Bucket List

The Pilion Trust Fuck The Poor

Malaysia Society of Transplantation Live On

Over five minutes:

Consejo Publicitario Argentino The 1000 Miles of Luca

U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Weekly Digest Bulletin (Aug 31)


Sunday, August 31, 2014

FDA Updates for Health Professionals (Aug 27)

HP NL masthead

August 27, 2014

Science Saturday (Aug 30)

Astronomers Discover A Planetary Impact Outside Our Own Solar System | io9

In a study published in the latest issue of Science, astronomers led by graduate student Huan Meng, of the University of Arizona in Tucson, announced the discovery of remains of a mammoth planetary collision.

You Can Now Access All Of Richard Feynman's Physics Lectures For Free | io9

The lectures of Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman were legendary. Footage of these lectures does exist, but they are most famously preserved in The Feynman Lectures. The three-volume set may be the most popular collection of physics books ever written, and now you can access it online, in its entirety, for free.

Preventing cancer from forming 'tentacles' stops dangerous spread | Machines Like Us

A new study from the research group of Dr. John Lewis at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB) and the Lawson Health Research Institute (London, ON) has confirmed that "invadopodia" play a key role in the spread of cancer.

Original: Learning the secrets of how cancer works | University of Alberta

The early cost of HIV: Inflammatory response breaks down intestinal lining, but help may come from friendly bacteria | PhysOrg

Researchers at UC Davis have made some surprising discoveries about the body's initial responses to HIV infection. Studying simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), the team found that specialized cells in the intestine called Paneth cells are early responders to viral invasion and are the source of gut inflammation by producing a cytokine called interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β).

Do we live in a 2-D hologram? New Fermilab experiment will test the nature of the universe | PhysOrg

A unique experiment at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory called the Holometer has started collecting data that will answer some mind-bending questions about our universe -- including whether we live in a hologram.

Mystery solved: 'Sailing stones' of death valley seen in action for the first time | PhysOrg

Racetrack Playa is home to an enduring Death Valley mystery. Littered across the surface of this dry lake, also called a "playa," are hundreds of rocks -- some weighing as much as 320 kilograms (700 pounds) -- that seem to have been dragged across the ground, leaving synchronized trails that can stretch for hundreds of meters.

Picturing Schrodinger's cat: Quantum physics enables revolutionary imaging method | PhysOrg

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI), the Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology (VCQ), and the University of Vienna have developed a fundamentally new quantum imaging technique with strikingly counterintuitive features.

Also: Quantum Physics Enables a New 'Telepathic' Photography Technique | Motherboard

'Sparky' and its new stars give clues to how massive galaxies evolve | CSM

Astronomers have discovered a budding galactic nucleus, which is undergoing a ferocious rate of star formation. It is providing researchers with their first glimpse at a key step in the galaxy-formation process.

Talking to Strangers Makes You Happy | Scientific American

Consider the times you've hopped on a subway, boarded a plane or entered a waiting room. Chances are, you probably avoided engaging with any fellow commuters or patients. But contrary to what we might think, we'd be happier if we did strike up a conversation with a total stranger.

Should Scientific Progress Affect Religious Beliefs? | Sean Carroll  Video

Sure it should. Here's a new video from Closer to Truth, in which I'm chatting briefly with Robert Lawrence Kuhn about the question.

LIGO Generations (Trailer) |  Video

This journey has never been, cannot be, the journey of one individual, of a solo genius working in the isolation of a secret lab. Every incremental step, every cognitive leap, every breakthrough falls along a continuum of multiple generations of individuals who push the boundaries of contemporary knowledge and modern processes to discover what lies just beyond the reach of what is possible.

Physics Week in Review: August 30, 2014 | Jennifer Ouellette | Scientific American

Science Friday LIVE came to Caltech on Wednesday night, for a fun-filled evening exploring the intersection between Hollywood and science. Fortunately, you can listen to the audio if you missed the event.

I liked the broadcast (listened to all of it). I read some (not all) and liked:

I sent PBS feedback: they used "principle" when they meant "principal."

Friday, August 29, 2014

Environment Friday (Aug 29)

Hawaii's Largest Utility Announces Plan To Triple Rooftop Solar By 2030 | ThinkProgress

Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) on Tuesday announced their intention to triple the amount of rooftop solar in the state, just one part of a plan that the companies say will make Hawaii the highest renewable energy-using state in the country.

Britain Announces Plans For The Next Generation Of Emissions-Free Public Transit | ThinkProgress

Trains and buses of the low and even emissions-free variety are on the rise in Britain, evidenced by two new projects underway in the country.

Chile Is Poised To Pass South America's First Carbon Tax | ThinkProgress

It's a big year for fighting climate change in Chile.

BullWho needs Keystone XL? Oil sands flow to US via loophole. | CSM

As Keystone XL awaits a final decision from the Obama administration, at least one energy firm has found a loophole to ship controversial oil sands across the US border. The Keystone XL workaround could increase the flow of oil sands to the US by an additional 75,000 barrels per day without White House approval.

Train delayed again? Blame the oil boom. | CSM

With oil production booming in the US, producers are increasingly turning to railways to get crude to refineries. And so much oil is hitting the rails that it's crowding out grain and coal -- and even people.

Climate change policies pay for themselves, study says | CSM

An MIT climate change study released Sunday indicates the cost of slashing coal-fired carbon emissions would be offset by reduced spending on public health. The EPA-funded study examined climate change policies similar to those proposed by the Obama administration in June.

AmeriScan: August 28, 2014 | ENS
  • Happy faceCalifornia Lawmakers Vote 'Yes' for One Million Electric Vehicles
  • ExxonMobil Pipeline Pays $1.4 Million for Louisiana Oil Spill
  • Small Railroads Get Help to Make Hazmat Hauling Safer
  • Cross-country Train Headed for Peoples' Climate March
  • Conservationists to Sue Feds Over Wolverine Protection
  • New Jersey Restores Coastal Marshes With New Method
  • 20 Corals Listed as Threatened

Time to vote for Britain's national bird | The Guardian  Picture

Like America's bald eagle, the UK too should have its own iconic bird and there are 60 for the [UK] public to choose from

Shell files new plan to drill in Arctic | PhysOrg

Royal Dutch Shell has submitted a new plan for drilling in the Arctic offshore Alaska, more than one year after halting its program following several embarrassing mishaps.

David Roberts' top 10 greatest hits | Grist

Grist climate and energy blogger David Roberts is about to return from a year-long sabbatical. So it's the perfect time to revisit the top 10 posts from his 10 years of writing for Grist.

Why Republicans won't back a carbon tax | Grist

Republicans, as everyone knows, hate taxes and don't accept, much less care about, climate change. But wonks on both sides of the aisle dream that a carbon tax could win bipartisan support as part of a broader tax-reform package.

Winged Warning: Heavy Metal Song Distortion | Dot Earth | NYT  Video

I'm catching up with Winged Warnings, a remarkable online series on birds as sentinels for (and victims of) environmental problems, which is unfolding over at Environmental Health News.

Charles Koch Personally Founded a Group Protecting Oil Industry Handouts | The Nation

This post was originally published at

'Lifestyles of the Rich Environmentalists,' produced by a group called the Institute for Energy Research, is a slick web video campaign designed to lampoon Leonardo Dicaprio and as hypocrites for supporting action on climate change.

CDC Influenza News and Highlights (Aug 29)

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CDCSaving Lives. Protecting People. TM

CDC Influenza News and Highlights
August 29, 2014

What's New?

Weekly Influenza Surveillance
CDC has published the 2014-2015 recommendations for the prevention and control of influenza. CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. Flu activity is low across the United States now, but usually begins to increase in October and most commonly peaks between January and March. Make plans to get your flu vaccine this fall.

Learn More!

What You Should Know for the 2014-2015 Season

2014-15 Provider Information: Influenza VISs Now Available

Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

CDC 24/7 - Saving Lives, Protecting People, Saving Money.… Dept of Health and Human Services Logo Make sure your kids are getting the fruit and veggies they need.
CDC on Facebook   CDC on Twitter   CDC YouTube Channel  

On the Ground in Nigeria: Ebola Response | CDC; NIH Researchers identify and track the Ebola outbreak

On the Ground in Nigeria: Ebola ResponseOn the Ground in Nigeria: Ebola Response
On the ground in Nigeria, CDC staffer Lisa talks about the hurdles of setting up an emergency operations center for the Ebola outbreak in a city nervous and scared about the spread of the disease

For the last few months, there has been a constant buzz about Ebola among my friends and colleagues in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. Everyone had a theory about if, when, or how Ebola would come to Nigeria. When we heard about a probable case in Lagos, my heart sank.

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Single animal to human transmission event responsible for 2014 Ebola outbreak | NIH

Scientists used advanced genomic sequencing technology to identify a single point of infection from an animal reservoir to a human in the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This research has also revealed the dynamics of how the Ebola virus has been transmitted from human to human, and traces how the genetic code of the virus is changing over time to adapt to human hosts. Pardis Sabeti, M.D., Ph.D, a 2009 National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator awardee and her team carried out the research.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

What, you thought I meant tomorrow?

When I adopted T-cat and his sister, I found a cat tree made from an actual tree, leaving only whatever they finished it with and the carpet to worry about off-gassing. I forget how much I paid but it was a whopping amount of money. This one is fine and we can enjoy the formaldehyde for years to come.

Maggie and Benjamin explored it as it was under construction and have deemed it suitable. It's not in the right place sadly -- one of the holes is not accessible -- so I'll move it when the housekeeper is here tomorrow to help. It wasn't difficult to put together (the whining about the instructions in the reviews is ear-splitting) and was done without incident; still this will be my last such adventure. I have no need and the cats just have to deal.

May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. ~ George Carlin

I spent today talking to tree people. Two of the trees in the back are stressed from the drought, one excessively, and I've neglected them. It was a colorful parade of people, with various recommendations. The last guy made the most sense, had the lowest quote for trimming, and zero complaints with BBB. Check. I'll spend a chunk of the money I saved watering the trees so they will recover.

The latest with the dishwasher is that now after every load it says it needs salt (for the softener) and leaves a residue in the bottom. I'm ignoring that for a while.

The laundry room vent is still not installed. The HVAC guy has been (invent whatever excuses will cover six months without doing it). His last one was that he was out of town working for six weeks. I texted him; he said one more week; I texted him two weeks later; he ignored me. I'm done asking. The guy is a friend but even he took advantage.

Season three of Sherlock is available to watch for free online until Sept 25. Scroll down to the Full Episodes section. Season four starts up in January.

The new cat tree arrived today. I didn't want to buy a new one but there simply is not enough in the house to entertain Maggie. This is less an issue of her welfare than my irritation about the things she does play with; nevertheless it will meet both requirements. Now to put it together.

Which shouldn't be too bad but my new "schedule" is trying. The timer on my phone goes off all day. Insert piece of nicotine gum, chew for thirty-five minutes. Remove gum, set timer for one hour and ten minutes, chew next piece. Repeat throughout the day. Don't chew gum for 15 minutes after eating or drinking. Throw everything in the covered bin to keep gum and casings away from the cats.

I hate smoking and it's all worth it. It does cut the day into bits so I'm working on doing X and chewing gum at the same time. Formerly I'd reach for a piece when I wanted one, which didn't work as well. It's not about satisfying cravings -- it's about steadiness. The new method is working as well as one could hope.

The next task is getting my diet under control. No surprise, the numbers weren't good after the recent difficulties. It remains a challenge but we're working on it. As long as the privileges of home ownership and pet parenting don't do me in.